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D' vision  ljLZ4 
Sectioa  ■Uflu 


DEVELOPMENT  OF 

RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN 

ANCIENT  EGYPT 


THE    MORSE    LECTURES 

PUBLISHED    BY    CHARLES    SCRIBNER'S    SONS 


THE  CRITICISM   OF  THE   FOURTH   GOSPEL. 

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THE    CHRISTIAN    CONQUEST   OF   ASIA.     By 

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DEVELOPMENT  OF  RELIGION  AND 
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DEVELOPMENT   OF 

RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN 

ANCIENT  EGYPT 

LECTURES  DELIVERED  ON  THE  MORSE  FOUNDATION 
AT  UNION  THEOLOGICAL  SEMINARY 

oFl 

NOV  14  191 
JAMES  HENRY  BREASTED,  Ph.D.    - 

PROFESSOR   OF   EGYPTOLOGY  AND   ORIENTAL  HISTORY   IN   THE   UNIVER- 
SITY  OF   CHICAGO CORRESPONDING   MEMBER   OF   THE 

ROYAL  ACADEMY   OF   SCIENCES   OF   BERLIN 


NEW  YORK 

CHARLES   SCRIBNER'S   SONS 

1912 


Copyright,  1912,  by 
CHARLES  SCRIBNER'S  SONS 

Published  September,  1912 


TO 

ADOLF  ERMAN 

IN    GRATITUDE    AND    AFFECTION 


PREFACE 

Contrary  to  the  popular  and  current  impression,  the 
most  important  body  of  sacred  literature  in  Egypt  is  not 
the  Book  of  the  Dead,  but  a  much  older  literature  which 
we  now  call  the  "Pyramid  Texts."  These  texts,  pre- 
served in  the  Fifth  and  Sixth  Dynasty  Pyramids  at  Sak- 
kara,  form  the  oldest  body  of  literature  surviving  from  the 
ancient  world  and  disclose  to  us  the  earliest  chapter  in  the 
intellectual  history  of  man  as  preserved  to  modern  times. 
They  are  to  the  study  of  Egyptian  language  and  civiliza- 
tion what  the  Vedas  have  been  in  the  study  of  early  East 
Indian  and  Aryan  culture.  Discovered  in  1880-81,  they 
were  published  by  Maspero  in  a  pioneer  edition  which  will 
always  remain  a  great  achievement  and  a  landmark  in 
the  history  of  Egyptology.  The  fact  that  progress  has 
been  made  in  the  publication  of  such  epigraphic  work  is 
no  reflection  upon  the  devoted  labors  of  the  distinguished 
first  editor  of  the  Pyramid  Texts.  The  appearance  last 
year  of  the  exhaustive  standard  edition  of  the  hieroglyphic 
text  at  the  hands  of  Sethe  after  years  of  study  and  arrange- 
ment marks  a  new  epoch  in  the  study  of  earliest  Egyptian 
life  and  religion.  How  comparatively  inaccessible  the 
Pyramid  Texts  have  been  until  the  appearance  of  Sethe's 
edition  is  best  illustrated  by  the  fact  that  no  complete 
analysis  or  full  account  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  as  a  whole 
has  ever  appeared  in  English,  much  less  an  English  ver- 
sion of  them.  The  great  and  complicated  fabric  of  life 
which  they  reflect  to  us,  the  religious  and  intellectual 

vii 


viii  PREFACE 

forces  which  have  left  their  traces  in  them,  the  intrusion 
of  the  Osiris  faith  and  the  Osirian  editing  by  the  hand  of  the 
earliest  redactor  in  literary  history — all  these  and  many 
other  fundamental  disclosures  of  this  earliest  body  of 
literature  have  hitherto  been  inaccessible  to  the  English 
reader,  and  as  far  as  they  are  new,  also  to  all. 

It  was  therefore  with  peculiar  pleasure  that  just  after 
the  appearance  of  Sethe's  edition  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  I 
received  President  Francis  Brown's  very  cordial  invita- 
tion to  deliver  the  Morse  Lectures  at  Union  Theolog- 
ical Seminary  on  some  subject  in  Egyptian  life  and  civiliza- 
tion. While  it  was  obviously  desirable  at  this  juncture 
to  choose  a  subject  which  would  involve  some  account  of 
the  Pyramid  Texts,  it  was  equally  desirable  to  assign  them 
their  proper  place  in  the  development  of  Egyptian  civiliza- 
tion. This  latter  desideratum  led  to  a  rather  more  am- 
bitious subject  than  the  time  available  before  the  delivery 
of  the  lectures  would  permit  to  treat  exhaustively,  viz.,  to 
trace  the  development  of  Egyptian  religion  in  its  relation  to 
life  and  thought,  as,  for  example,  it  has  been  done  for  the 
Hebrews  by  modern  critical  and  historical  study.  In  the 
study  of  Egyptian  religion  hitherto  the  effort  has  perhaps 
necessarily  been  to  produce  a  kind  of  historical  encyclo- 
paedia of  the  subject.  Owing  to  their  vast  extent,  the 
mere  bulk  of  the  materials  available,  this  method  of  study 
and  presentation  has  resulted  in  a  very  complicated  and 
detailed  picture  in  which  the  great  drift  of  the  develop- 
ment as  the  successive  forces  of  civilization  dominated  has 
not  been  discernible.  There  has  heretofore  been  little  at- 
tempt to  correlate  with  religion  the  other  great  categories 
of  life  and  civilization  which  shaped  it.  I  do  not  mean 
that  these  relationships  have  not  been  noticed  in  certain 
epochs,  especially  where  they  have  been  so  obvious  as 


PREFACE  ix 

hardly  to  be  overlooked,  but  no  systematic  effort  has  yet 
been  made  to  trace  from  beginning  to  end  the  leading 
categories  of  life,  thought,  and  civilization  as  they  succes- 
sively made  their  mark  on  religion,  or  to  follow  religion 
from  age  to  age,  disclosing  especially  how  it  was  shaped  by 
these  influences,  and  how  it  in  its  turn  reacted  on  society. 
I  should  have  been  very  glad  if  this  initial  effort  at  such 
a  reconstruction  might  have  attempted  a  more  detailed 
analysis  of  the  basic  documents  upon  which  it  rests,  and  if 
in  several  places  it  might  have  been  broadened  and  ex- 
tended to  include  more  categories.     That  surprising  group 
of  pamphleteers  who  made  the  earliest  crusade  for  social 
justice  and  brought  about  the  earliest  social  regeneration 
four  thousand  years  ago  (Lecture  VII)  should  be  further 
studied  in  detail  in  their  bearing  on  the  mental  and  relig- 
ious attitude  of  the  remarkable  age  to  which  they  be- 
longed.    I  am  well  aware  also  of  the  importance  and 
desirability  of  a  full  treatment  of  cult  and  ritual  in  such 
a  reconstruction  as  that  here  attempted,  but  I  have  been 
obliged  to  limit  the  discussion  of  this  subject  chiefly  to 
mortuary  ritual  and  observances,  trusting  that  I  have  not 
overlooked  facts  of  importance  for  our  purpose  discerni- 
ble in  the  temple  cult.     In  the  space  and  time  at  my  dis- 
posal for  this  course  of  lectures  it  has  not  been  possible 
to  adduce  all  the  material  which  I  had,  nor  to  follow  down 
each  attractive  vista  which  frequently  opened  so  tempt- 
ingly.    I  have  not  undertaken  the  problem  of  origins  in 
many  directions,  like  that  of  sacred  animals  so  prominent 
in  Egypt.     Indeed  Re  and  Osiris  are  so  largely  anthro- 
pomorphic that,  in  dealing  as  I  have  chiefly  with  the  Solar 
and  Osirian  faiths,  it  was  not  necessary.     In  the  age  dis- 
cussed these  two  highest  gods  were  altogether  human  and 
highly  spiritualized,  though  the  thought  of  Re  displays  oc- 


x  PREFACE 

casional  relapses,  as  it  were,  in  the  current  allusions  to  the 
falcon,  with  which  he  was  so  early  associated.  Another 
subject  passed  by  is  the  concept  of  sacrifice,  which  I  have 
not  discussed  at  all.  There  is  likewise  no  systematic  dis- 
cussion of  the  idea  of  a  god's  power,  though  the  material 
for  such  a  discussion  will  be  found  here.  I  would  have 
been  glad  to  devote  a  lecture  to  this  subject,  especially  in 
its  relation  to  magic  as  a  vague  and  colossal  inexorability 
to  which  when  invoked  even  the  highest  god  must  bow. 
Only  Amenhotep  IV  (Ikhnaton)  seems  to  have  outgrown 
it,  because  Oriental  magic  is.,  so  largely  demoniac  and 
Amenhotep  IV  as  a  monotheist  banished  the  demons  and 
the  host  of  gods. 

It  will  be  seen,  then,  that  no  rigid  outline  of  categories 
has  been  set  up.  I  have  taken  those  aspects  of  Egyptian 
religion  and  thought  in  which  the  development  and  expan- 
sion could  be  most  clearly  traced,  the  endeavor  being 
especially  to  determine  the  order  and  succession  of  those 
influences  which  determine  the  course  and  character  of 
religious  development.  It  is  of  course  evident  that  no 
such  influence  works  at  any  time  to  the  exclusion  of  all  the 
others,  but  there  are  epochs  when,  for  example,  the  influ- 
ence of  the  state  on  religion  and  religious  thought  first 
becomes  noticeable  and  a  determining  force.  The  same 
thing  is  true  of  the  social  forces  as  distinguished  from  those 
of  the  state  organization.  This  is  not  an  endeavor,  then, 
to  trace  each  category  from  beginning  to  end,  but  to  es- 
tablish the  order  in  which  the  different  influences  which 
created  Egyptian  religion  successively  became  the  deter- 
mining forces.  Beginning  shortly  after  3000  B.C.  the  sur- 
viving documents  are,  I  think,  sufficient  to  disclose  these 
influences  in  chronological  order  as  they  will  be  found  in 
the  "Epitome  of  the  Development,,  which  follows  this 


PREFACE  xi 

preface.  Under  these  circumstances  little  effort  to  corre- 
late the  phenomena  adduced  with  those  of  other  religions 
has  been  made.  May  I  remind  the  reader  of  technical 
attainments  also,  that  the  lectures  were  designed  for  a 
popular  audience  and  were  written  accordingly? 

Although  we  are  still  in  the  beginning  of  the  study  of 
Egyptian  religion,  and  although  I  would  gladly  have  car- 
ried these  researches  much  further,  I  believe  that  the  re- 
construction here  presented  will  in  the  main  stand,  and 
that  the  inevitable  alterations  and  differences  of  opinion 
resulting  from  the  constant  progress  in  such  a  field  of 
research  will  concern  chiefly  the  details.  That  the  general 
drift  of  the  religious  development  in  Egypt  is  analogous  to 
that  of  the  Hebrews  is  a  fact  of  confirmative  value  not 
without  interest  to  students  of  Comparative  Religion  and 
of  the  Old  Testament. 

I  have  been  careful  to  make  due  acknowledgment  in  the 
foot-notes  of  my  indebtedness  to  the  labors  of  other 
scholars.  The  obligation  of  all  scholars  in  this  field  to 
the  researches  of  Erman  and  Maspero  is  proverbial,  and, 
as  we  have  said,  in  his  new  edition  of  the  Pyramid  Texts 
Sethe  has  raised  a  notable  monument  to  his  exhaustive 
knowledge  of  this  subject  to  which  every  student  of  civil- 
ization is  indebted.  May  I  venture  to  express  the  hope 
that  this  exposition  of  religion  in  the  making,  during  a 
period  of  three  thousand  years,  may  serve  not  only  as  a 
general  survey  of  the  development  in  the  higher  life  of  a 
great  people  beginning  in  the  earliest  age  of  man  which 
we  can  discern  at  the  present  day,  but  also  to  emphasize 
the  truth  that  the  process  of  religion-making  has  never 
ceased  and  that  the  same  forces  which  shaped  religion  in 
ancient  Egypt  are  still  operative  in  our  own  midst  and 
continue  to  mould  our  own  religion  to-day? 


xii  PREFACE 

The  reader  should  note  that  half  brackets  indicate  some 
uncertainty  in  the  rendering  of  all  words  so  enclosed; 
brackets  enclose  words  wholly  restored,  and  where  the  half 
brackets  are  combined  with  the  brackets  the  restoration 
is  uncertain.  Parentheses  enclose  explanatory  words  not 
in  the  original,  and  dots  indicate  intentional  omission  in 
the  translation  of  an  original.  Quotations  from  modern 
authors  are  so  rare  in  the  volume,  and  so  evident  when 
made,  that  the  reader  may  regard  practically  all  passages 
in  quotation  marks  as  renderings  from  an  original  docu- 
ment. All  abbreviations  will  be  intelligible  except  BAR, 
which  designates  the  author's  Ancient  Records  of  Egypt 
(five  volumes,  Chicago,  1905-07),  the  Roman  indicating 
the  volume,  and  the  Arabic  the  paragraph. 

In  conclusion,  it  is  a  pleasant  duty  to  express  my  in- 
debtedness to  my  friend  and  one-time  pupil,  Dr.  Caroline 
Ransom,  of  the  Metropolitan  Museum,  for  her  kindness  in 
reading  the  entire  page-proof,  while  for  a  similar  service, 
as  well  as  the  irksome  task  of  preparing  the  index,  I  am 
under  great  obligation  to  the  goodness  of  Dr.  Charles 
R.  Gillett,  of  Union  Theological  Seminary. 

James  Henry  Breasted. 


The  University  of  Chicago, 
April,  1912. 


EPITOME  OF  THE  DEVELOPMENT 

Nature  furnishes  the  earliest  gods — The  national  state 
makes  early  impression  on  religion — Its  forms  pass  over 
into  the  world  of  the  gods— Their  origin  and  function  in 
nature  retire  into  the  background — The  gods  become  ac- 
tive in  the  sphere  of  human  affairs — They  are  intellec- 
tualized  and  spiritualized  till  the  human  arena  becomes 
their  domain — The  gods  are  correlated  into  a  general 
system— In  the  conception  of  death  and  the  hereafter 
we  find  a  glorious  celestial  realm  reserved  exclusively  for 
kings  and  possibly  nobles — Herein,  too,  we  discern  the 
emergence  of  the  moral  sense  and  the  inner  life  in  their 
influence  on  religion — Recognition  of  futility  of  material 
agencies  in  the  hereafter  and  resulting  scepticism — Ap- 
pearance of  the  capacity  to  contemplate  society — Recog- 
nition of  the  moral  unworthiness  of  society  and  resulting 
scepticism — The  cry  for  social  justice — The  social  forces 
make  their  impression  on  religion — Resulting  democrati- 
zation of  the  formerly  royal  hereafter — Magic  invades 
the  realm  of  morals — The  Empire  (the  international  state) 
and  political  universalism  so  impress  religion  that  the 
"world-idea"  emerges  and  monotheism  results — Earliest 
manifestation  of  personal  piety  growing  out  of  paternal 
monotheism  and  the  older  social  justice — The  individual 
in  religion — The  age  of  the  psalmist  and  the  sage — Sacer- 
dotalism triumphs,  resulting  in  intellectual  stagnation,  the 
inertia  of  thoughtless  acceptance,  and  the  development 

xiii 


xiv  EPITOME    OF    THE   DEVELOPMENT 

ceases  in  scribal  conservation  of  the  old  teachings — The 
retrospective  age — A  religious  development  of  three  thou- 
sand years  analogous  in  the  main  points  to  that  of  the 
Hebrews. 


CONTENTS 


LECTURE  I 

Nature  and  the  State  Make  Their  Impression 

on  Religion — Earliest  Systems      ....        3 

Natural  sources  of  the  content  of  Egyptian  religion  chiefly  two:  the  sun 
and  the  Nile  or  vegetation — The  Sun-myth  and  the  Solar  theology— The 
national  state  makes  its  impression  on  religion — Re  the  Sun-god  becomes 
the  state  god  of  Egypt — Osiris  and  his  nature:  he  was  Nile  or  the  soil  and 
the  vegetation  fructified  by  it — The  Osiris-myth — Its  early  rise  in  the 
Delta  and  migration  to  Upper  Egypt — Correlation  of  Solar  and  Osirian 
myths — Early  appropriation  of  the  Set-Horus  feud  by  the  Osirian  myth — 
Solar  group  of  nine  divinities  (Ennead)  headed  by  the  Sun-god  early  de- 
vised by  the  priests  of  Heliopolis — Early  intimations  of  pantheism  in  Mem- 
phite  theology — The  first  pilhosophico-religious  system — Its  world  limited 
to  Egypt. 

LECTURE  II 

Life  after  Death — The  Sojourn  in  the  Tomb — 

Death  Makes  Its  Impression  on  Religion      48 

(Period:  earliest  times  to  25th  century  B.  C.) 

Earliest  Egyptian  thought  revealed  in  mortuary  practices — The  con- 
ception of  a  person :  ka  (or  protecting  genius) ,  body  and  soul — Reconstitu- 
tion  of  personality  after  death — Maintenance  of  the  dead  in  the  tomb — 
Tomb-building — Earliest  royal  tombs — Tombs  of  the  nobles — Earliest 
embalmment  and  burial — Royal  aid  in  mortuary  equipment — Tomb  en- 
dowment— Origin  of  the  pyramid,  greatest  symbol  of  the  Sun-god — The 
pyramid  and  its  buildings — Its  dedication  and  protection — Its  endow- 
ment, ritual,  and  maintenance — Inevitable  decay  of  the  pyramid — Survival 
of  death  a  matter  of  material  equipment. 


LECTURE  III 

Realms  of  the  Dead — The  Pyramid  Texts — The 

Ascent  to  the  Sky 70 

(Period:   30th  to  25th  century  B.  C.) 

The  Pyramid  Texts — The  oldest  chapter  in  the  intellectual  history  of 
man — Earliest  fragments  before  3400  B.  C. — Pyramid  Texts  represent  a 

XV 


xvi  CONTENTS 

period  of  a  thousand  years  ending  in  25th  century  B.  C. — Their  purpose  to 
ensure  the  king  felicity  hereafter — Their  reflection  of  the  life  of  the  age — 
Their  dominant  note  protest  against  death — Content  sixfold:  (1)  Funerary 
and  mortuary  ritual;  (2)  Magical  charms;  (3)  Ancient  ritual  of  worship; 
(4)  Ancient  religious  hymns;  (5)  Fragments  of  old  myths;  (6)  Prayers  on 
behalf  of  the  king — Haphazard  arrangement — Literary  form:  parallelism 
of  members — Occasional  display  of  real  literary  quality — Method  of  em- 
ployment— The  sojourn  of  the  dead  in  a  distant  place — The  prominence 
of  the  east  of  the  sky — The  Stellar  and  Solar  hereafter — The  ascent  to  the 
sky. 

LECTURE  IV 

Realms  of  the  Dead— The  Earliest  Celestial 

Hereafter 118 

(Period:   30th  to  25th  century  B.  C.) 

Reception  of  the  Pharaoh  by  the  Sun-god — Association  with  the  Sun- 
god — Identification  with  the  Sun-god — The  Pharaoh  a  cosmic  figure  su- 
perior to  the  Sun-god — Fellowship  with  the  gods — Pharaoh  devours  the 
gods — The  Pharaoh's  food — The  Island  of  the  Tree  of  Life — The  Pharaoh's 
protection  against  his  enemies — Celestial  felicity  of  the  Pharaoh — Solar 
contrasted  with  Osirian  hereafter — Earliest  struggle  of  a  state  theology  and 
a  popular  faith. 

LECTURE  V 
The  Osirianization  of  the  Hereafter     .    .    .    142 

(Period:  30th  to  25th  century  B.  C.) 

Osirian  myth  foreign  to  the  celestial  hereafter — Osiris  not  at  first  friendly 
to  the  dead — Osirian  kingdom  not  celestial  but  subterranean — Filial  piety 
of  Horus  and  the  Osirian  hereafter — Identity  of  the  dead  Pharaoh  and 
Osiris — Osiris  gains  a  celestial  hereafter — Osirianization  of  the  Pyramid 
Texts — Conflict  between  state  and  popular  religion — Traces  of  the  process 
in  the  Pyramid  Texts — Fusion  of  Solar  and  Osirian  hereafter. 


LECTURE  VI 

Emergence  of  the  Moral  Sense — Moral 
Worthiness  and  the  Hereafter — Scepti- 
cism and  the  Problem  of  Suffering  .    .    .     165 

(29th  century  to  18th  century  B.  C.) 

Religion  first  dealing  with  the  material  world — Emergence  of  the  moral 
sense — Justice — Filial  piety — Moral  worthiness  and  the  hereafter  in  tomb 
inscriptions — Earliest  judgment  of  the  dead — Moral  justification  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts — The  Pharaoh  not  exempt  from  moral  requirements  in  the 


CONTENTS  xvii 

hereafter — Moral  justification  not  of  Osirian  but  of  Solar  origin — The  limi- 
tations of  the  earliest  moral  sense — The  triumph  of  character  over  material 
agencies  of  immortality — The  realm  of  the  gods  begins  to  become  one  of 
moral  values — Ruined  pyramids  and  futility  of  such  means — Resulting 
scepticism  and  rise  of  subjective  contemplation — Song  of  the  harper — The  ., 
problem  of  suffering  and  the  unjustly  afflicted — The  "Misanthrope,"  the 
earliest  Job. 


LECTURE  VII 

The  Social  Forces  Make  Their  Impression  on 
Religion — The  Earliest  Social  Regenera- 
tion    199 

(Period:   22d  to  18th  century  B.  Q.) 

Appearance  of  the  capacity  to  contemplate  society — Discernment  of  the 
moral  unworthiness  of  society — Scepticism — A  royal  sceptic — Earliest 
social  prophets  and  their  tractates — Ipuwer  and  his  arraignment — The 
dream  of  the  ideal  ruler — Messianism — The  Tale  of  the  Eloquent  Peasant 
and  propaganda  for  social  justice — Maxims  of  Ptahhotep — Righteousness 
and  official  optimism — Social  justice  becomes  the  official  doctrine  of  the 
state — The  "  Installation  of  the  Vizier" — Dialogue  form  of  social  and  moral 
discussion  and  its  origin  in  Egypt — Evidences  of  the  social  regeneration  of 
the  Feudal  Age — Its  origin  in  the  Solar  faith — Deepening  sense  of  moral 
responsibility  in  the  hereafter  both  Solar  and  Osirian. 


LECTURE  VIII 

Popularization  of  the  Old  Royal  Hereafter — 
Triumph  of  Osiris — Conscience  and  the 
Book  of  the  Dead — Magic  and  Morals     .    257 

(Period:  22d  century  to  1350  B.  C.) 

Material  equipment  for  the  hereafter  not  abandoned — Maintenance  of 
the  dead — The  cemetery  festivities  of  the  people  illustrated  at  Siut — Ephem- 
eral character  of  the  tomb  and  its  maintenance  evident  as  before — Value 
of  the  uttered  word  in  the  hereafter — The  "Coffin  Texts,"  the  forerunners 
of  the  Book  of  the  Dead — Predominance  of  the  Solar  and  celestial  hereafter 
— Intrusion  of  Osirian  views — Resulting  Solar-Osirian  hereafter — Democ- 
ratization of  the  hereafter — Its  innumerable  dangers — Consequent  growth 
in  the  use  of  magic — Popular  triumph  of  Osiris — His  "Holy  Sepulchre" 
at  Abydos — The  Osirian  drama  or  "Passion  Play" — Magic  and  increased 
recognition  of  its  usefulness  in  the  hereafter — The  Book  of  the  Dead — 
Largely  made  up  of  magical  charms — Similar  books — The  judgment  in 
the  Book  of  the  Dead — Conscience  in  graphic  symbols — Sin  not  confessed 
as  later — Magic  enters  world  of  morals  and  conscience — Resulting  degen- 
eration. 


xviii  CONTENTS 

LECTURE  IX 

The  Imperial  Age — The  World-State  Makes 
Its  Impression  on  Religion — Earliest  Mon- 
otheism— Ikhnaton 312 

(Period:   1580  to  1350  B.  C.) 

Nationalism  in  religion  and  thought — It  yields  to  universalism  after 
establishment  of  Egyptian'Empire — Earliest  evidences — Solar  universalism 
under  Amenhotep  III — Opposition  of  Amon — Earliest  national  priesthood 
under  High  Priest  of  Amon — Amenhotep  IV — His  championship  of  Sun- 
god  as  "Aton" — His  struggle  with  Amonite  papacy — He  annihilates 
Amon  and  the  gods — He  becomes  "Ikhnaton" — Monotheism,  Aton  sole 
god  of  the  Empire — A  return  to  nature — Ethical  content  of  Aton  faith — 
The  intellectual  revolution — A  world-religion  premature — Ikhnaton  the 
earliest  "individual." 

LECTURE  X 

The  Age  of  Personal  Piety — Sacerdotalism  and 

Final  Decadence 344 

(Period:   1350  B.  C.  on.) 

Fall  of  Ikhnaton — Suppression  of  the  Aton  faith — Restoration  of  Amon — 
Influences  of  Aton  faith  survive — Their  appearance  in  folk-religion  of  13th 
and  12th  centuries  B.  C. — Fatherly  care  and  solicitude  of  God  (as  old  as 
Feudal  Age),  together  with  elements  of  Aton  faith,  appear  in  a  manifesta- 
tion of  personal  piety  among  the  common  people — New  spiritual  relation 
with  God,  involving  humility,  confession  of  sin,  and  silent  meditation — 
Morals  of  the  sages  and  moral  progress — Resignation  to  one's  lot — Folk 
theology — Pantheism  in  a  folk-tale — In  Theology — Universal  spread  of 
mortuary  practices — Increasing  power  of  religious  institutions — A  state 
within  the  state — Sacerdotalism  triumphs — Religion  degenerates  into 
usages,  observances,  and  scribal  conservation  of  the  old  writings — The  ret- 
rospective age — Final  decadence  into  the  Osirianism  of  the  Roman  Empire. 

Index 371 


CHRONOLOGY 

Beginning   of  the  Dynasties  with  Menes,   about 
3400  B.  C. 

Early  Dynasties,  I  and  II,  about  3400  to  2980  B.  C. 

Old  Kingdom  or  Pyramid  Age,  Dynasties  III  to  VI, 
2980  to  2475  B.C.,  roughly  the  first  five  hundred 

YEARS  OF  THE  THIRD  MILLENNIUM  B.   C. 

Middle  Kingdom  or  Feudal  Age,  Dynasties  XI  and 
XII,  2160  to  1788  B.  C. 

The  Empire,  Dynasties  XVIII  to  XX  (first  half 
only),  about  1580  to  1150  B.  C. 

Decadence,  Dynasties  XX  (second  half)  to  XXV, 
about  1150  to  660  B.  C. 

Restoration,  Dynasty  XXVI,  663  to  525  B.  C. 

Persian  Conquest,  525  B.  C. 

Greek  Conquest,  332  B.  C. 

Roman  Conquest,  30  B.  C. 


CORRIGENDA 

Page  345,  footnote,  last  line,  "  Ikhnaton,"  should  read  "Tutenkhamon." 
Page  363,  line  21,  "twenty-fifth  century,"  should  read   "twenty-eighth  cen- 
tury." 
Page  366,  line  8,  "  which  now  received  its  last  redaction,"  should  read  "  still 
undergoing  further  redaction." 


DEVELOPMENT  OF 

RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN 

ANCIENT  EGYPT 


LECTURE  I 

the  origins:  nature  and  the  state  in  their  impres- 
sion ON  RELIGION — EARLIEST  SYSTEMS 

The  recovery  of  the  history  of  the  nearer  Orient  in  the 
decipherment  of  Egyptian  hieroglyphic  and  Babylonian 
cuneiform  brought  with  it  many  unexpected  revelations, 
but  none  more  impressive  than  the  length  of  the  develop- 
ment disclosed.  In  Babylonia,  however,  the  constant 
influx  of  foreign  population  resulted  in  frequent  and  vio- 
lent interruption  of  the  development  of  civilization.  In 
Egypt,  on  the  other  hand,  the  isolation  of  the  lower  Nile 
valley  permitted  a  development  never  seriously  arrested 
by  permanent  immigrations  for  over  three  thousand 
years.  We  find  here  an  opportunity  like  that  which  the 
zoologist  is  constantly  seeking  in  what  he  calls  "un- 
broken series, "  such  as  that  of  the  horse  developing  in 
several  millions  of  years  from  a  creature  little  larger  than 
a  rabbit  to  our  modern  domestic  horse.  In  all  the  cate- 
gories of  human  life:  language,  arts,  government,  society, 
thought,  religion — what  you  please — we  may  trace  a  de- 
velopment in  Egypt  essentially  undisturbed  by  outside 
forces,  for  a  period  far  surpassing  in  length  any  such 
development  elsewhere  preserved  to  us;  and  it  is  a  matter 
of  not  a  little  interest  to  observe  what  humankind  becomes 
in  the  course  of  five  thousand  years  in  such  an  Island  of 
the  Blest  as  Egypt;  to  follow  him  from  the  flint  knife 
and  stone  hammer  in  less  than  two  thousand  years  to  the 

3 


4      RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

copper  chisel  and  the  amazing  extent  and  accuracy  of  the 
Great  Pyramid  masonry;  from  the  wattle-hut  to  the 
sumptuous  palace,  gorgeous  with  glazed  tile,  rich  tapes- 
tries, and  incrusted  with  gold;  to  follow  all  the  golden 
threads  of  his  many-sided  life,  as  it  was  interwoven  at 
last  into  a  rich  and  noble  fabric  of  civilization.  In  these 
lectures  we  are  to  follow  but  one  of  these  many  threads, 
as  its  complicated  involutions  wind  hither  and  thither 
throughout  the  whole  fabric. 

There  is  no  force  in  the  life  of  ancient  man  the  influ- 
ence of  which  so  pervades  all  his  activities  as  does  that 
of  the  religious  faculty.  It  is  at  first  but  an  endeavor  in 
vague  and  childish  fancies  to  explain  and  to  control  the 
world  about  him;  its  fears  become  his  hourly  master,  its 
hopes  are  his  constant  mentor,  its  feasts  are  his  calendar, 
and  its  outward  usages  are  to  a  large  extent  the  educa- 
tion and  the  motive  toward  the  evolution  of  art,  litera- 
ture, and  science.  Life  not  only  touches  religion  at  every 
point,  but  life,  thought,  and  religion  are  inextricably  in- 
terfused in  an  intricate  complex  of  impressions  from 
without  and  forces  from  within.  How  the  world  about 
him  and  the  world  within  him  successively  wrought  and 
fashioned  the  religion  of  the  Egyptian  for  three  thousand 
years  is  the  theme  of  these  studies. 

As  among  all  other  early  peoples,  it  was  in  his  natural 
surroundings  that  the  Egyptian  first  saw  his  gods.  The 
trees  and  springs,  the  stones  and  hill-tops,  the  birds  and 
beasts,  were  creatures  like  himself,  or  possessed  of  strange 
and  uncanny  powers  of  which  he  was  not  master.  Nature 
thus  makes  the  earliest  impression  upon  the  religious 
faculty,  the  visible  world  is  first  explained  in  terms  of 
religious  forces,  and  the  earliest  gods  are  the  controlling 
forces  of  the  material  world.     A  social  or  political  realm, 


THE  ORIGINS  5 

or  a  domain  of  the  spirit  where  the  gods  shall  be  supreme, 
is  not  yet  perceived.  Such  divinities  as  these  were  local, 
each  known  only  to  the  dwellers  in  a  given  locality.1 

As  the  prehistoric  principalities,  after  many  centuries 
of  internal  conflict,  coalesced  to  form  a  united  state,  the 
first  great  national  organization  of  men  in  history  (about 
3400  B.  C),  this  imposing  fabric  of  the  state  made  a  pro- 
found impression  upon  religion,  and  the  forms  of  the 
state  began  to  pass  over  into  the  world  of  the  gods. 

At  the  same  time  the  voices  within  made  themselves 
heard,  and  moral  values  were  discerned  for  the  first  time. 
Man's  organized  power  without  and  the  power  of  the 
moral  imperative  within  were  thus  both  early  forces  in 
shaping  Egyptian  religion.  The  moral  mandate,  indeed, 
was  felt  earlier  in  Egypt  than  anywhere  else.  With  the 
development  of  provincial  society  in  the  Feudal  Age  there 
ensued  a  ferment  of  social  forces,  and  the  demand  for 
social  justice  early  found  expression  in  the  conception  of 
a  gracious  and  paternal  kingship,  maintaining  high  ideals 
of  social  equity.  The  world  of  the  gods,  continuing  in 
sensitive  touch  with  the  political  conditions  of  the  nation, 
at  once  felt  this  influence,  and  through  the  idealized  king- 
ship social  justice  passed  over  into  the  character  of  the 
state  god,  enriching  the  ethical  qualities  which  in  some 
degree  had  for  probably  a  thousand  years  been  imputed 
to  him. 

Thus  far  all  was  national.  As  the  arena  of  thought 
and  action  widened  from  national  limits  to  a  world  of 
imperial  scope,  when  the  Egyptian  state  expanded  to  em- 
brace contiguous  Asia  and  Africa,  the  forces  of  imperial 
power  consistently  reacted  upon  the  thought  and  religion 

1  These  remarks  are  in  part  drawn  from  the  writer's  History  of 
Egypt,  p.  53. 


6       RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

of  the  empire.  The  national  religion  was  forcibly  sup- 
planted by  a  non-national,  universal  faith,  and  for  the 
first  time  in  history  monotheism  dawned.  Unlike  the 
social  developments  of  the  Feudal  Age,  this  movement 
was  exclusively  political,  artificial,  and  imposed  upon  the 
people  by  official  pressure  from  above.  The  monothe- 
istic movement  also  failed  for  lack  of  nationalism.  The 
Mediterranean  world  was  not  yet  ripe  for  a  world-religion. 
In  the  reversion  to  the  old  national  gods,  much  of  the 
humane  content  of  the  monotheistic  teaching  survived, 
and  may  be  recognized  in  ideas  which  gained  wide  cur- 
rency among  the  people.  In  this  process  of  populariza- 
tion, the  last  great  development  in  Egyptian  religion  took 
place  (1300-1100  B.  C),  a  development  toward  deep 
personal  confidence  in  the  goodness  and  paternal  solici- 
tude of  God,  resulting  in  a  relation  of  spiritual  communion 
with  him.  This  earliest  known  age  of  personal  piety  in 
a  deep  spiritual  sense  degenerated  under  the  influence  of 
sacerdotalism  into  the  exaggerated  religiosity  of  Graeco- 
Roman  days  in  Egypt. 

Such  is  the  imposing  vista  of  development  in  the  re- 
ligion and  thought  of  Egypt,  down  which  we  may  look, 
surveying  as  we  do  a  period  of  three  thousand  years  or 
more.  To  sum  up:  what  we  shall  endeavor  to  do  is  to 
trace  the  progress  of  the  Egyptian  as  both  the  world 
about  him  and  the  world  within  him  made  their  impres- 
sion upon  his  thought  and  his  religion,  disclosing  to  us, 
one  after  another,  nature,  the  national  state,  the  inner 
life  with  its  growing  sense  of  moral  obligation,  the  social 
forces,  the  world  state,  the  personal  conviction  of  the 
presence  and  goodness  of  God,  triumphant  sacerdotalism, 
scribal  literalism,  and  resulting  decay — in  short,  all  these 
in  succession  as  felt  by  the  Egyptian  with  profound  effect 


THE  ORIGINS  7 

upon  his  religion  and  his  thought  for  three  thousand 
years  will  constitute  the  survey  presented  in  these  lectures. 

The  fact  that  a  survey  of  exactly  this  character  has 
not  been  undertaken  before  should  lend  some  interest  to 
the  task.  The  fact  that  objective  study  of  the  great 
categories  mentioned  has  ranged  them  chronologically  in 
their  effect  upon  thought  and  religion  in  the  order  above 
outlined,  disclosing  a  religious  development  in  the  main 
points  analogous  with  that  of  the  Hebrews,  though  with 
differences  that  might  have  been  expected,  should  also 
enhance  the  interest  and  importance  of  such  a  recon- 
struction. Indeed  one  of  the  noticeable  facts  regarding 
the  religious  and  intellectual  development  of  the  Hebrews 
has  been  that  the  Oriental  world  in  which  they  moved 
has  heretofore  furnished  us  with  no  wholly  analogous 
process  among  kindred  peoples. 

It  will  be  seen  that  such  a  study  as  we  contemplate 
involves  keeping  in  the  main  channel  and  following  the 
broad  current,  the  general  drift.  It  will  be  impossible, 
not  to  say  quite  undesirable,  to  undertake  an  account  of 
all  the  Egyptian  gods,  or  to  study  the  material  appurte- 
nances and  outward  usages  of  religion,  like  the  ceremonies 
and  equipment  of  the  cult,  which  were  so  elaborately  de- 
veloped in  Egypt.  Nor  shall  we  follow  thought  in  all  its 
relations  to  the  various  incipient  sciences,  but  only  those 
main  developments  involved  in  the  intimate  interrela- 
tion between  thought  and  religion. 

One  characteristic  of  Egyptian  thinking  should  be 
borne  in  mind  from  the  outset:  it  was  always  in  graphic 
form.  The  Egyptian  did  not  possess  the  terminology  for 
the  expression  of  a  system  of  abstract  thought;  neither 
did  he  develop  the  capacity  to  create  the  necessary  ter- 
minology as  did  the  Greek.    He  thought  in  concrete  pict 


8      RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

ures,  he  moved  along  tangible  material  channels,  and 
the  material  world  about  him  furnished  nearly  all  of 
the  terms  which  he  used.  While  this  is  probably  ulti- 
mately true  of  all  terms  in  any  early  language,  such  terms 
for  the  most  part  remained  concrete  for  the  Egyptian. 
We  shall  discern  the  emergence  of  the  earliest  abstract 
term  known  in  the  history  of  thought  as  moral  ideas 
appear  among  the  men  of  the  Pyramid  Age  in  the  first  half 
of  the  third  millennium  B.  C.  Let  us  not,  therefore,  ex- 
pect an  equipment  of  precise  abstract  terms,  which  we 
shall  find  as  lacking  as  the  systems  which  might  require 
them.  We  are  indeed  to  watch  processes  by  which  a 
nation  like  the  Greeks  might  have  developed  such  terms, 
but  as  we  contemplate  the  earliest  developments  in  human 
thinking  still  traceable  in  contemporary  documents,  we 
must  expect  the  vagueness,  the  crudities,  and  the  limita- 
tions inevitable  at  so  early  a  stage  of  human  development. 
As  the  earliest  chapter  in  the  intellectual  history  of  man, 
its  introductory  phases  are,  nevertheless,  of  more  impor- 
tance than  their  intrinsic  value  as  thought  would  other- 
wise possess,  while  the  climax  of  the  development  is  vital 
with  human  interest  and  human  appeal. 

As  we  examine  Egyptian  religion  in  its  earliest  surviv- 
ing documents,  it  is  evident  that  two  great  phenomena  of 
nature  had  made  the  most  profound  impression  upon  the 
Nile-dwellers  and  that  the  gods  discerned  in  these  two 
phenomena  dominated  religious  and  intellectual  develop- 
ment from  the  earliest  times.  These  are  the  sun  and  the 
Nile.  In  the  Sun-god,  Re,  Atum,  Horus,  Khepri,  and  in 
the  Nile,  Osiris,  we  find  the  great  gods  of  Egyptian  life 
and  thought,  who  almost  from  the  beginning  entered  upon 
a  rivalry  for  the  highest  place  in  the  religion  of  Egypt— 
a  rivalry  which  ceased  only  with  the  annihilation  of  Egyp- 


THE  ORIGINS  9 

tian  religion  at  the  close  of  the  fifth  century  of  the  Chris- 
tian era.  He  who  knows  the  essentials  of  the  story  of 
this  long  rivalry,  will  know  the  main  course  of  the  history 
of  Egyptian  religion,  not  to  say  one  of  the  most  important 
chapters  in  the  history  of  the  early  East. 

The  all-enveloping  glory  and  power  of  the  Egyptian  sun 
is  the  most  insistent  fact  in  the  Nile  valley,  even  at  the 
present  day  as  the  modern  tourist  views  him  for  the  first 
time.  The  Egyptian  saw  him  in  different,  doubtless  orig- 
inally local  forms.  At  Edfu  he  appeared  as  a  falcon,  for 
the  lofty  flight  of  this  bird,  which  seemed  a  very  comrade  of 
the  sun,  had  led  the  early  fancy  of  the  Nile  peasant  to 
believe  that  the  sun  must  be  such  a  falcon,  taking  his  daily 
flight  across  the  heavens,  and  the  sun-disk  with  the  out- 
spread wings  of  the  falcon  became  the  commonest  sym- 
bol of  Egyptian  religion.  As  falcon  he  bore  the  name 
Hor  (Horus  or  Horos),  or  Harakhte,  which  means  "Horus 
of  the  horizon."  The  latter  with  three  other  Horuses 
formed  the  four  Horuses  of  the  eastern  sky,  originally, 
doubtless,  four  different  local  Horuses.1    We  find  them 

1  These  four  Horuses  are:  (1)  "Harakhte,"  (2)  "Horus  of  the 
Gods,"  (3)  "Horus  of  the  East,"  and  (4)  "Horus-shesemti."  On 
their  relation  to  Osiris,  see  infra,  p.  156.  Three  important  Utter- 
ances of  the  Pyramid  Texts  are  built  up  on  them:  Ut.  325,  563,  and 
479.  They  are  also  inserted  into  Ut.  504  (§§  1085-6).  See  also 
§  1 105  and  §  1206.  They  probably  occur  again  as  curly  haired  youths 
in  charge  of  the  ferry-boat  to  the  eastern  sky  in  Ut.  520,  but  in  Ut. 
522  the  four  in  charge  of  the  ferry-boat  are  the  four  genii,  the  sons 
of  the  Osirian  Horus,  and  confusion  must  be  guarded  against.  On 
this  point  see  infra,  p.  157.  In  Pyr.  §  1258  the  four  Horuses  appear 
with  variant  names  and  are  perhaps  identified  with  the  dead;  they 
are  prevented  from  decaying  by  Isis  and  Nephthys.  In  Pyr.  §  1478 
also  the  four  Horuses  are  identified  with  the  dead,  who  is  the  son  of 
Re,  in  a  resurrection.  Compare  also  the  four  children  of  the  Earth- 
god  Geb  (Pyr.  §§  1510-11),  and  especially  the  four  children  of  Atum 
who  decay  not  (Pyr.  §§2057-8),  as  in  Pyr.  §  1258. 


10    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

in  the  Pyramid  Texts  as  "these  four  youths  who  sit  on 
the  east  side  of  the  sky,  these  four  youths  with  curly  hair 
who  sit  in  the  shade  of  the  tower  of  Kati."  1 

At  Heliopolis  the  Sun-god  appeared  as  an  aged  man 
tottering  down  the  west,  while  elsewhere  they  saw  in  him 
a  winged  beetle  rising  in  the  east  as  Khepri.  Less  pict- 
uresque fancy  discerned  the  material  sun  as  Re,  that  is 
the  "sun."  While  these  were  early  correlated  they  at 
first  remained  distinct  gods  for  the  separate  localities 
where  they  were  worshipped.  Survivals  of  the  distinc- 
tion between  the  archaic  local  Sun-gods  are  still  to  be 
found  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  Horus  early  became  the 
son  of  Re,  but  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  we  may  find  the 
dead  Pharaoh  mounting  "  upon  his  empty  throne  between 
the  two  great  gods"  (Re  and  Horus).2  They  ultimately 
coalesced,  and  their  identity  is  quite  evident  also  in  the 
same  Pyramid  Texts,  where  we  find  the  compound  "  Re- 
Atum"  to  indicate  the  identity.3  The  favorite  picture  of 
him  discloses  him  sailing  across  the  celestial  ocean  in  the 
sun-barque,  of  which  there  were  two,  one  for  the  morning 
and  the  other  for  the  evening.  There  were  several  an- 
cient folk-tales  of  how  he  reached  the  sky  when  he  was 
still  on  earth.  They  prayed  that  the  deceased  Pharaoh 
might  reach  the  sky  in  the  same  way:  "Give  thou  to  this 
king  Pepi  (the  Pharaoh)  thy  two  fingers  which  thou 
gavest  to  the  maiden,  the  daughter  of  the  Great  God  (Re), 
when  the  sky  was  separated  from  the  earth,  and  the  gods 
ascended  to  the  sky,  while  thou  wast  a  soul  appearing  in 
the  bow  of  thy  ship  of  seven  hundred  and  seventy  cubits 
(length),  which  the  gods  of  Buto  built  for  thee,  which 
the  eastern  gods  shaped  for  thee."  4    This  separation  of 

1  Pyr.  Texts,  §  1105.  2  Pyr.  §  1125. 

3  Pyr.  §§  1694-5.  4  Pyr.  §§  1208-9. 


THE  ORIGINS  11 

earth  and  sky  had  been  accomplished  by  Shu  the  god  of 
the  atmosphere,  who  afterward  continued  to  support  the 
sky  as  he  stood  with  his  feet  on  earth.  There,  like  Atlas 
shouldering  the  earth,  he  was  fed  by  provisions  of  the 
Sun-god  brought  by  a  falcon.1 

Long  before  all  this,  however,  there  had  existed  in  the 
beginning  only  primeval  chaos,  an  ocean  in  which  the 
Sun-god  as  Atum  had  appeared.  At  one  temple  they  said 
Ptah  had  shaped  an  egg  out  of  which  the  Sun-god  had 
issued;  at  another  it  was  affirmed  that  a  lotus  flower  had 
grown  out  of  the  water  and  in  it  the  youthful  Sun-god 
was  concealed;  at  Heliopolis  it  was  believed  that  the  Sun- 
god  had  appeared  upon  the  ancient  pyramidal  "  Ben-stone 
in  the  Phoenix-hall  in  Heliopolis"  as  a  Phoenix.2  Every 
sanctuary  sought  to  gain  honor  by  associating  in  some 
way  with  its  own  early  history  the  appearance  of  the  Sun- 
god.  Either  by  his  own  masculine  power  self-developed,3 
or  by  a  consort  who  appeared  to  him,  the  Sun-god  now 
begat  Shu  the  Air-god,  and  Tefnut  his  wife.  Of  these 
two  were  born  Geb  the  Earth-god,  and  Nut  the  goddess 
of  the  sky,  whose  children  were  the  two  brothers  Osiris 
and  Set,  and  the  sisters  Isis  and  Nephthys. 

In  the  remotest  past  it  was  with  material  functions  that 
the  Sun-god  had  to  do.  In  the  earliest  Sun-temples  at 
Abusir,  he  appears  as  the  source  of  life  and  increase. 
Men  said  of  him:  "Thou  hast  driven  away  the  storm, 
and  hast  expelled  the  rain,  and  hast  broken  up  the 
clouds."  4  These  were  his  enemies,  and  of  course  they 
were  likewise  personified  in  the  folk-myth,  appearing  in 
a  tale  in  which  the  Sun-god  loses  his  eye  at  the  hands  of 


Pyr.  §  1778.  2  Pyr.  §  1652. 

Pyr.  §  1818  and  §  1248,  where  the  act  is  described  in  detail. 

Pyr.  §  500. 


12    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

his  enemy.  Similarly  the  waxing  and  waning  of  the  moon, 
who  was  also  an  eye  of  the  Sun-god,  gave  rise  to  another 
version  of  the  lost  eye,  which  in  this  case  was  brought 
back  and  restored  to  the  Sun-god  by  his  friend  Thoth 
the  Moon-god.1  This  "eye,"  termed  the  "Horus-eye," 
became  one  of  the  holiest  symbols  of  Egyptian  religion, 
and  was  finally  transferred  to  the  Osirian  faith,  where  it 
played  a  prominent  part.2 

As  the  Egyptian  state  developed  and  a  uniformly  or- 
ganized nation  under  a  single  king  embraced  and  included 
all  the  once  petty  and  local  principalities,  the  Sun-god 
became  an  ancient  king  who,  like  a  Pharaoh,  had  once  ruled 
Egypt.  Many  folk-myths  telling  of  his  earthly  rule  arose, 
but  of  these  only  fragments  have  survived,  like  that  which 
narrates  the  ingratitude  of  his  human  subjects,  whom  he 
was  obliged  to  punish  and  almost  exterminate  before  he 
retired  to  the  sky.3 

While  the  Egyptian  still  referred  with  pleasure  to  the 
incidents  which  made  up  these  primitive  tales,  and  his 
religious  literature  to  the  end  was  filled  with  allusions  to 
these  myths,  nevertheless  at  the  beginning  of  the  Pyramid 
Age  he  was  already  discerning  the  Sun-god  in  the  exercise 
of  functions  which  lifted  him  far  above  such  childish 
fancies  and  made  him  the  great  arbiter  and  ruler  of  the 
Egyptian  nation.  While  he  was  supreme  among  the 
gods,  and  men  said  of  him,  "Thou  passest  the  night  in 
the  evening-barque,  thou  wakest  in  the  morning-barque; 

1  Pyr.  §  2213  d. 

2  On  the  two  eyes  of  the  Sun-god,  see  Erman's  full  statement, 
Hymnen  an  das  Diadem  der  Pharaonen,  in  Abhandl.  der  Kgl. 
Preuss.  Akad.,  1911,  pp.  11-14. 

3  On  the  sun-myths  see  Erman,  Aegyptische  Religion,  pp.  33-38. 
An  insurrection  suppressed  by  the  Sun-god  is  referred  to  in  the  Pyra- 
mid Texts,  Ut.  229  and  §  311. 


THE  ORIGINS  13 

for  thou  art  he  who  overlooks  the  gods;  there  is  no  god 
who  overlooks  thee";1  he  was  likewise  at  the  same  time 
supreme  over  the  destinies  of  men. 

This  fundamental  transition,  the  earliest  known,  trans- 
ferred the  activities  of  the  Sun-god  from  the  realm  of 
exclusively  material  forces  to  the  domain  of  human  affairs. 
Already  in  the  Pyramid  Age  his  supremacy  in  the  affairs 
of  Egypt  was  celebrated  in  the  earliest  Sun-hymn  which 
we  possess.  It  sets  forth  the  god's  beneficent  mainte- 
nance and  control  of  the  land  of  Egypt,  which  is  called 
the  "  Horus-eye/'  that  is  the  Sun-god's  eye.  The  hymn 
is  as  follows: 


"Hail  to  thee,  Atum! 
Hail  to  thee,  Kheprer! 
Who  himself  became  (or  'self-generator'). 
Thou  art  high  in  this  thy  name  of  'Height,' 
Thou  becomest  (hpr)  in  this  thy  name  of  'Beetle'  (tjprr). 
Hail  to  thee,  Horus-eye  (Egypt), 
Which  he  adorned  with  both  his  arms. 

"He  permits  thee  (Egypt)  not  to  hearken  to  the  westerners, 
He  permits  thee  not  to  hearken  to  the  easterners, 
He  permits  thee  not  to  hearken  to  the  southerners, 
He  permits  thee  not  to  hearken  to  the  northerners, 
He  permits  thee  not  to  hearken  to  the  dwellers  in  the  midst  of  the 

earth, 
But  thou  hearkenest  unto  Horus. 


It  is  he  who  has  adorned  thee, 

It  is  he  who  has  built  thee, 

It  is  he  who  has  founded  thee. 

Thou  doest  for  him  everything  that  he  says  to  thee 

In  every  place  where  he  goes. 

i  Pyr.  §  1479. 


14    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Thou  earnest  to  him  the  fowl-bearing  waters  that  are  in  thee; 
Thou  carriest  to  him  the  fowl-bearing  waters  that  shall  be  in  thee. 
Thou  carriest  to  him  every  tree  that  is  in  thee, 
Thou  carriest  to  him  every  tree  that  shall  be  in  thee. 
Thou  carriest  to  him  all  food  that  is  in  thee, 
Thou  carriest  to  him  all  food  that  shall  be  in  thee. 
Thou  carriest  to  him  the  gifts  that  are  in  thee, 
Thou  carriest  to  him  the  gifts  that  shall  be  in  thee. 
Thou  carriest  to  him  everything  that  is  in  thee, 
Thou  carriest  to  him  everything  that  shall  be  in  thee. 
Thou  bringest  them  to  him, 
To  every  place  where  his  heart  desires  to  be. 

"The  doors  that  are  on  thee  stand  fast  like  Inmutef,1 
They  open  not  to  the  westerners, 
They  open  not  to  the  easterners, 
They  open  not  to  the  northerners, 
They  open  not  to  the  southerners, 

They  open  not  to  the  dwellers  in  the  midst  of  the  earth, 
They  open  to  Horus. 
It  was  he  who  made  them, 
It  was  he  who  set  them  up, 

It  was  he  who  saved  them  from  every  ill  which  Set  did  to  them. 
It  was  he  who  settled  (grg)  thee, 
In  this  thy  name  of  'Settlements'  (grg-wt). 
It  was  he  who  went  doing  obeisance  (nyny)  after  thee, 
In  this  thy  name  of  'City'  (nwt) 
It  was  he  who  saved  thee  from  every  ill 
Which  Set  did  unto  thee."  2 

Similarly  the  Sun-god  is  the  ally  and  protector  of  the 
king:  "He  settles  for  him  Upper  Egypt,  he  settles  for 
him  Lower  Egypt;  he  hacks  up  for  him  the  strongholds 
of  Asia,  he  quells  for  him  all  the  people,3  who  were  fashioned 

1  A  priestly  title  meaning  "Pillar  of  his  mother"  and  containing 
some  mythological  allusion. 

2  Pyr.  §§  1587-95. 

3  The  word  used  applies  only  to  the  people  of  Egypt. 


THE  ORIGINS  15 

under  his  fingers."  *  Such  was  his  prestige  that  by  the 
twenty-ninth  century  his  name  appeared  in  the  names  of 
the  Gizeh  kings,  the  builders  of  the  second  and  third 
pyramids  there,  Khafre  and  Menkure,  and  according  to 
a  folk-tale  circulating  a  thousand  years  later,  Khufu  the 
builder  of  the  Great  Pyramid  of  Gizeh,  and  the  prede- 
cessor of  the  two  kings  just  named,  was  warned  by  a  wise 
man  that  his  line  should  be  superseded  by  three  sons  of 
the  Sun-god  yet  to  be  born.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  in  the 
middle  of  the  next  century,  that  is  about  2750  B.  C,  the 
line  of  Khufu,  the  Fourth  Dynasty,  was  indeed  supplanted 
by  a  family  of  kings,  who  began  to  assume  the  title 
"Son  of  Re,"  though  the  title  was  probably  not  un- 
known even  earlier.  This  Fifth  Dynasty  was  devoted  to 
the  service  of  the  Sun-god,  and  each  king  built  a  vast 
sanctuary  for  his  worship  in  connection  with  the  royal 
residence,  on  the  margin  of  the  western  desert.  Such  a 
sanctuary  possessed  no  adytum,  or  holy-of-holies,  but  in 
its  place  there  rose  a  massive  masonry  obelisk  towering 
to  the  sky.  Like  all  obelisks,  it  was  surmounted  by  a 
pyramid,  which  formed  the  apex.  The  pyramid  was,  as 
we  shall  see,  the  chief  symbol  of  the  Sun-god,  and  in  his 
sanctuary  at  Heliopolis  there  was  a  pyramidal  stone  in 
the  holy  place,  of  which  that  surmounting  the  obelisk  in 
the  Fifth  Dynasty  sun-temples  was  perhaps  a  reproduc- 
tion. It  is  evident  that  the  priests  of  Heliopolis  had  be- 
come so  powerful  that  they  had  succeeded  in  seating  this 
Solar  line  of  kings  upon  the  throne  of  the  Pharaohs. 
From  now  on  the  state  fiction  was  maintained  that  the 
Pharaoh  was  the  physical  son  of  the  Sun-god  by  an 
earthly  mother,  and  in  later  days  we  find  the  successive 
incidents  of  the  Sun-god's  terrestrial  amour  sculptured 
1  Pyr.  §  1837. 


16    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

on  the  walls  of  the  temples.  It  has  been  preserved  in  two 
buildings  of  the  Eighteenth  Dynasty,  the  temple  of  Luxor 
and  that  of  Der  el-Bahri.1 

The  legend  was  so  persistent  that  even  Alexander  the 
Great  deferred  to  the  tradition,  and  made  the  long  jour- 
ney to  the  Oasis  of  Amon  in  the  western  desert,  that  he 
might  be  recognized  as  the  bodily  son  of  the  Egyptian 
Sun-god;2  and  the  folk-tale  preserved  in  Pseudo-Callis- 
thenes  gave  the  legend  currency  as  a  popular  romance, 
which  survived  until  a  few  centuries  ago  in  Europe.  It 
still  remains  to  be  determined  what  influence  the  Solar 
Pharaoh  may  have  had  upon  the  Solar  apotheosis  of  the 
Csesars,  five  hundred  years  later. 

From  the  foundation  of  the  Fifth  Dynasty,  in  the 
twenty-eighth  century  B.  C,  the  position  of  the  Sun-god 
then,  as  the  father  of  the  Pharaoh  and  the  great  patron 
divinity  of  the  state,  was  one  of  unrivalled  splendor  and 
power.  He  was  the  great  god  of  king  and  court.  When 
King  Neferirkere  is  deeply  afflicted  at  the  sudden  death 
of  his  grand  vizier,  who  was  stricken  down  with  disease 
at  the  king's  side,  the  Pharaoh  prays  to  Re;3  and  the 
court-physician,  when  he  has  received  a  gift  from  the  king 
for  his  tomb,  tells  of  it  in  his  tomb  inscriptions  with  the 
words:  "If  ye  love  Re,  ye  shall  praise  every  god  for 
Sahure's  sake  who  did  this  for  me."  4 

The  conception  of  the  Sun-god  as  a  former  king  of 
Egypt,  as  the  father  of  the  reigning  Pharaoh,  and  as  the 
protector  and  leader  of  the  nation,  still  a  kind  of  ideal 
king,  resulted  in  the  most  important  consequences  for 

i  BAR,  II,  187-212. 

2  The  material  will  be  found  in  Maspero's  useful  essay,  Comment 
Alexandre  devint  dieu  en  Egypte,  Ecole  dcs  Hautes  Etudes,  annuaire,  1897. 
s  BAR,  1,247.  4BAR,  1,247. 


THE  ORIGINS  17 

religion.  The  qualities  of  the  earthly  kingship  of  the 
Pharaoh  were  easily  transferred  to  Re.  We  can  observe 
this  even  in  externals.  There  was  a  palace  song  with 
which  the  court  was  wont  to  waken  the  sovereign  five 
thousand  years  ago,  or  which  was  addressed  to  him  in  the 
morning  as  he  came  forth  from  his  chamber.     It  began : 

"Thou  wakest  in  peace, 
The  king  awakes  in  peace, 
Thy  wakening  is  in  peace."  1 

This  song  was  early  addressed  to  the  Sun-god,2  and 
similarly  the  hymns  to  the  royal  diadem  as  a  divinity 
were  addressed  to  other  gods.3  The  whole  earthly  con- 
ception and  environment  of  the  Egyptian  Pharaoh  were 
soon,  as  it  were,  the  "stage  properties"  with  which  Re 
was  "made  up"  before  the  eyes  of  the  Nile-dweller. 
When  later  on,  therefore,  the  conception  of  the  human 
kingship  was  developed  and  enriched  under  the  trans- 
forming social  forces  of  the  Feudal  Age,  these  vital  changes 
were  soon  reflected  from  the  character  of  the  Pharaoh  to 
that  of  the  Sun-god.  It  was  a  fact  of  the  greatest  value 
to  religion,  then,  that  the  Sun-god  became  a  kind  of  celes- 
tial reflection  of  the  earthly  sovereign.  This  phenomenon 
is,  of  course,  merely  a  highly  specialized  example  of  the 
universal  process  by  which  man  has  pictured  to  himself 
his  god  with  the  pigments  of  his  earthly  experience.  We 
shall  later  see  how  this  process  is  closely  analogous  to  the 
developing  idea  of  the  Messianic  king  in  Hebrew  thought. 

1  The  character  and  origin,  and  the  later  use  of  this  song  as  a  part 
of  temple  ritual  and  worship,  were  first  noticed  by  Erman,  Hymnen 
an  das  Diadem  der  Pharaonen,  Abhandl.  der  Kgl.  Preuss.  Akad.,  Ber- 
lin, 1911,  pp.  15  ff. 

2  Pyr.  §§  1478,  1518.  *  See  Erman,  ibid. 


18    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

While  there  is  no  question  whatever  regarding  the 
natural  phenomenon  of  which  Re,  Atum,  Horus,  and  the 
rest  were  personifications,  there  has  been  much  uncer- 
tainty and  discussion  of  the  same  question  in  connection 
with  Osiris.1 

The  oldest  source,  the  Pyramid  Texts,  in  combination 
with  a  few  later  references,  settles  the  question  beyond 
any  doubt.  The  clearest  statement  of  the  nature  of 
Osiris  is  that  contained  in  the  incident  of  the  finding  of 
the  dead  god  by  his  son  Horus,  as  narrated  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts:  "Horus  comes,  he  recognizes  his  father  in  thee, 
youthful  in  thy  name  of  'Fresh  Water.'"  2  Equally  un- 
equivocal are  the  words  of  King  Ramses  IV,  who  says  to 
the  god:  "Thou  art  indeed  the  Nile,  great  on  the  fields 
at  the  beginning  of  the  seasons;  gods  and  men  live  by  the 
moisture  that  is  in  thee."  3 

Similarly  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  Osiris  is  elsewhere  ad- 
dressed :  "  Ho,  Osiris,  the  inundation  comes,  the  overflow 
moves,  Geb  (the  earth-god)  groans:  'I  have  sought  thee 
in  the  field,  I  have  smitten  him  who  did  aught  against 
thee  .  .  .  that  thou  mightest  live  and  lift  thyself  up.'  "4 
Again  when  the  dead  king  Unis  is  identified  with  Osiris, 
it  is  said  of  him:  "Unis  comes  hither  up-stream  when  the 
flood  inundates.  .  .  .  Unis  comes  to  his  pools  that  are  in 
the  region  of  the  flood  at  the  great  inundation,  to  the 

1  The  material  known  before  the  discovery  of  the  Pyramid  Texts 
was  put  together  by  Lefebure,  Le  mythe  osirien,  Paris,  1874; 
review  by  Maspero,  Revue  critique,  1875,  t.  II,  pp.  209-210. 
Without  the  Pyramid  Texts,  the  oldest  source,  it  is  hardly  possible 
to  settle  the  question.  The  complete  material  from  this  source  has 
not  hitherto  been  brought  to  bear  on  the  question,  not  even  in  the 
latest  work  on  the  subject,  Frazer's  admirable  book,  Adonis  Attis 
Osiris,  London,  1907. 

2  Pyr.  §  589.  3  Mariette,  Abydos,  II,  54,  1.  7. 
4Pyr.  §2111. 


THE  ORIGINS  19 

place  of  peace,  with  green  fields,  that  is  in  the  horizon. 
Unis  makes  the  verdure  to  flourish  in  the  two  regions  of 
the  horizon";1  or  "it  is  Unis  who  inundates  the  land."  2 

Likewise  the  deceased  king  Pepi  I  is  addressed  as  Osiris 
thus:  "This  thy  cavern,3  is  the  broad  hall  of  Osiris,  O 
King  Pepi,  which  brings  the  wind  and  ^guides1  the  north- 
wind.  It  raises  thee  as  Osiris,  O  King  Pepi.  The  wine- 
press god  comes  to  thee  bearing  wine-juice.  .  .  .  Those 
who  behold  the  Nile  tossing  in  waves  tremble.  The 
marshes  laugh,  the  shores  are  overflowed,  the  divine  offer- 
ings descend,  men  give  praise  and  the  heart  of  the  gods 
rejoices."  4  A  priestly  explanation  in  the  Pyramid  Texts 
represents  the  inundation  as  of  ceremonial  origin,  Osiris 
as  before  being  its  source:  "The  lakes  fill,  the  canals  are 
inundated,  by  the  purification  that  came  forth  from 
Osiris";5  or  "Ho  this  Osiris,  king  Meniere!  Thy  water, 
thy  libation  is  the  great  inundation  that  came  forth  from 
thee  "  (as  Osiris).6 

In  a  short  hymn  addressed  to  the  departed  king,  Pepi  II, 
as  Osiris,  we  should  discern  Osiris  either  in  the  life-giving 
waters  or  the  soil  of  Egypt  which  is  laved  by  them.  The 
birth  of  the  god  is  thus  described:  "The  waters  of  life 
that  are  in  the  sky  come;  the  waters  of  life  that  are  in  the 
earth  come.  The  sky  burns  for  thee,  the  earth  trembles 
for  thee,  before  the  divine  birth.  The  two  mountains 
divide,  the  god  becomes,  the  god  takes  possession  of  his 
body.  Behold  this  king  Pepi,  his  feet  are  kissed  by  the 
pure  waters  which  arose  through  Atum,  which  the  phallus 
of  Shu  makes  and  the  vulva  of  Tefnut  causes  to  be. 


1  Pyr.  §§507-8.  2  Pyr.  §388. 

3  The  word  used  is  tpht,  the  term  constantly  employed  in  later  re- 
ligious texts  for  the  cavern  from  which  the  Nile  had  its  source. 

4  Pyr.  §§  1551-4.  5  Pyr.  §  848.  6  Pyr.  §  868. 


20    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

They  come  to  thee,  they  bring  to  thee  the  pure  waters  from 
their  father.  They  purify  thee,  they  cleanse  thee,  O 
Pepi.  .  .  .  The  libation  is  poured  out  at  the  gate  of  this 
king  Pepi,  the  face  of  every  god  is  washed.  Thou  washest 
thy  arms,  O  Osiris."  l  As  Osiris  was  identified  with  the 
waters  of  earth  and  sky,  he  may  even  become  the  sea  and 
the  ocean  itself.  We  find  him  addressed  thus:  "Thou  art 
great,  thou  art  green,  in  thy  name  of  Great  Green  (Sea) ; 
lo,  thou  art  round  as  the  Great  Circle  (Okeanos) ;  lo,  thou 
art  turned  about,  thou  art  round  as  the  circle  that  en- 
circles the  Haunebu  (iEgeans)."  2  "Thou  includest  all 
things  in  thy  embrace,  in  thy  name  of  'Encircler  of  the 
Haunebu '  OEgeans)."  3  Or  again:  "Thou  hast  encircled 
every  god  in  thy  embrace,  their  lands  and  all  their  posses- 
sions. O  Osiris  .  .  .  thou  art  great,  thou  curvest  about 
as  the  curve  which  encircles  the  Haunebu."  4  Hence  it 
is  that  Osiris  is  depicted  on  the  sarcophagus  of  Seti  I, 
engulfed  in  waters  and  lying  as  it  were  coiled,  with  head 
and  heels  meeting  around  a  vacancy  containing  the  in- 
scription: "It  is  Osiris,  encircling  the  Nether- World."  5 
We  may  therefore  understand  another  passage  of  the 
Pyramid  Texts,  which  says  to  Osiris:  "Thou  ferriest  over 
the  lake  to  thy  house  the  Great  Green  (sea)."  6 

While  the  great  fountains  of  water  are  thus  identified 
with  Osiris,  it  is  evidently  a  particular  function  of  the 
waters  with  which  he  was  associated.  It  was  water  as  a 
source  of  fertility,  water  as  a  life-giving  agency  with  which 

1  Pyr.  §§  2063-8. 

2  Pyr.  §§  628-9.  Osiris  is  made  ruler  of  the  Haunebu  also  in  the 
Stela  No.  20,  Bibl.  Nat.  Cat.  Ledrain,  pi.  xxvi,  11.  19-20. 

3  Pyr.  §  1631.  4  Pyr.  §  847. 

5  Bonomi  and  Sharpe,  Alabaster  Sarcophagus  of  Oimeneptah  I, 
London,  1864,  pi.  15. 
«  Pyr.  §  1752. 


THE  ORIGINS  21 

Osiris  was  identified.  It  is  water  which  brings  life  to  the 
soil,  and  when  the  inundation  comes  the  Earth-god  Geb 
says  to  Osiris:  "The  divine  fluid  that  is  in  thee  cries  out, 
thy  heart  lives,  thy  divine  limbs  move,  thy  joints  are 
loosed,"  in  which  we  discern  the  water  bringing  life  and 
causing  the  resurrection  of  Osiris,  the  soil.  In  the  same 
way  in  a  folk-tale  thirteen  or  fourteen  hundred  years  later 
than  the  Pyramid  Texts,  the  heart  of  a  dead  hero,  who  is 
really  Osiris,  is  placed  in  water,  and  when  he  has  drunk 
the  water  containing  his  heart,  he  revives  and  comes  to 
life.1 

As  we  have  seen  in  the  last  passage  from  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  Osiris  is  closely  associated  with  the  soil  likewise. 
This  view  of  Osiris  is  carried  so  far  in  a  hymn  of  the 
twelfth  century  B.  C.  as  to  identify  Osiris,  not  only  with 
the  soil  but  even  with  the  earth  itself.  The  beginning  is 
lost,  but  we  perceive  that  the  dead  Osiris  is  addressed  as 
one  "with  outspread  arms,  sleeping  upon  his  side  upon 
the  sand,  lord  of  the  soil,  mummy  with  long  phallus.  .  .  . 
Re-Khepri  shines  on  thy  body,  when  thou  liest  as  Sokar, 
and  he  drives  away  the  darkness  which  is  upon  thee,  that 
he  may  bring  light  to  thy  eyes.  For  a  time  he  shines  upon 
thy  body  mourning  for  thee.  .  .  .  The  soil  is  on  thy  arm, 
its  corners  are  upon  thee  as  far  as  the  four  pillars  of  the 
sky.  When  thou  movest,  the  earth  trembles.  ...  As  for 
thee,  the  Nile  comes  forth  from  the  sweat  of  thy  hands. 
Thou  spewest  out  the  wind  that  is  in  thy  throat  into  the 
nostrils  of  men,  and  that  whereon  men  live  is  divine.  It 
is  ralike  in1  thy  nostrils,  the  tree  and  its  verdure,  reeds — 
plants,  barley,  wheat,  and  the  tree  of  life.  When  canals 
are  dug,  .  .  .  houses  and  temples  are  built,  when  monu- 
ments are  transported  and  fields  are  cultivated,  when 

xThe  Tale  of  the  Two  Brothers;  see  infra,  pp.  357-360. 


22     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

tomb-chapels  and  tombs  are  excavated,  they  rest  on 
thee,  it  is  thou  who  makest  them.  They  are  on  thy 
back,  although  they  are  more  than  can  be  put  into 
writing.  [Thy]  back  hath  not  an  empty  place,  for  they 
all  lie  on  thy  back;  but  [thou  sayest]  not,  'I  am  weighed 
down.'  Thou  art  the  father  and  mother  of  men,  they 
live  on  thy  breath,  they  eat  of  the  flesh  of  thy  body. 
The  'Primaeval'  is  thy  name."  1 

The  earlier  views  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  represent  him 
as  intimately  associated  with  vegetable  life.  We  find 
him  addressed  thus:  "O  thou  whose  ab-tree  is  green, 
which  (or  who)  is  upon  his  field;  0  thou  opener  of  the 
ukhikh-flower  that  (or  who)  is  on  his  sycomore;  O  thou 
brightener  of  regions  who  is  on  his  palm;  O  thou  lord  of 
green  fields."  2  Again  it  is  said  to  him :  "  Thou  art  flooded 
with  the  verdure  with  which  the  children  of  Geb  (the 
Earth-god)  were  flooded.  .  .  .  The  am-tree  serves  thee, 
the  nebes-tree  bows  its  head  to  thee."  3  In  addition  to 
his  connection  with  the  wine-press  god  above,  he  is  called 
"Lord  of  overflowing  wine."  4  Furthermore,  as  the  inun- 
dation began  at  the  rising  of  Sothis,  the  star  of  Isis,  sister 
of  Osiris,  they  said  to  him:  "The  beloved  daughter,  Sothis, 
makes  thy  fruits  (rnpwt)  in  this  her  name  of  'Year' 
(rnpt)."5  These  are  the  fruits  on  which  Egypt  lives; 
when  therefore  the  dead  king  is  identified  with  Osiris,  his 
birth  is  called  "his  unblemished  birth,  whereby  the  Two 
Lands  (Egypt)  live,"  and  thereupon  he  comes  as  the 
messenger  of  Osiris  announcing  the  prosperous  yield  of 
the  year.6  In  the  earliest  versions  of  the  Book  of  the 
Dead   likewise,   the   deceased   says   of   himself:     "I   am 

1  Erman,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  38,  pp.  30-33. 

2  Pyr.  §  699.  3  Pyr.  §  1019.  4  Pyr.  §  1524. 
6  Pyr.  §  1065.                    6  Pyr.  §§1194-5. 


THE  ORIGINS  23 

Osiris,  I  have  come  forth  as  thou  (that  is  "being  thou"), 
I  have  entered  as  thou  ...  the  gods  live  as  I,  I  live  as 
the  gods,  I  live  as  'Grain,' 1  I  grow  as 'Grain/  ...  I  am 
barley."  With  these  early  statements  we  should  compare 
the  frequent  representations  showing  grain  sprouting 
from  the  prostrate  body  of  Osiris,  or  a  tree  growing  out 
of  his  tomb  or  his  coffin,  or  the  effigies  of  the  god  as  a 
mummy  moulded  of  bruised  corn  and  earth  and  buried  with 
the  dead,  or  in  the  grain-field  to  insure  a  plentiful  crop. 
It  is  evident  from  these  earliest  sources  that  Osiris  was 
identified  with  the  ivaters,  especially  the  inundation,  with 
the  soil,  and  with  vegetation.  This  is  a  result  of  the 
Egyptian  tendency  always  to  think  in  graphic  and  con- 
crete forms.  The  god  was  doubtless  in  Egyptian  thought 
the  imperishable  principle  of  life  wherever  found,  and  this 
conception  not  infrequently  appears  in  representations  of 
him,  showing  him  even  in  death  as  still  possessed  of  gen- 
erative power.  The  ever-waning  and  reviving  life  of  the 
earth,  sometimes  associated  with  the  life-giving  waters, 
sometimes  with  the  fertile  soil,  or  again  discerned  in 
vegetation  itself— that  was  Osiris.  The  fact  that  the 
Nile,  like  the  vegetation  which  its  rising  waters  nourished 
and  supported,  waxed  and  waned  every  year,  made  it 
more  easy  to  see  him  in  the  Nile,  the  most  important 
feature  of  the  Egyptian's  landscape,  than  in  any  other 
form.2    As  a  matter  of  fact  the  Nile  was  but  the  source 

iHere  personified  as  god  of  Grain  (Npr).  The  passage  is  from 
the  Middle  Kingdom  Coffin  Texts,  published  by  Lacau,  Recueil  de 
trav.     See  also  "  Chapter  of  Becoming  the  Nile  "  (XIX)  and  cf.  XLIV. 

2  The  later  classical  evidence  from  Greek  and  Roman  authors  is  in 
general  corroborative  of  the  above  conclusions.  It  is  of  only  secon- 
dary importance  as  compared  with  the  early  sources  employed 
above.  The  most  important  passages  will  be  found  in  Frazer's  Ado- 
nis Attis  Osiris,  London,  1907,  pp.  330-345. 


24    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

and  visible  symbol  of  that  fertile  of  which  Osiris  was 
the  personification. 

This  ever-dying,  ever-reviving  god,  who  seemed  to  be 
subjected  to  human  destiny  and  human  mortality,  was 
inevitably  the  inexhaustible  theme  of  legend  and  saga. 
Like  the  Sun-god,  after  kings  appeared  in  the  land,  Osiris 
soon  became  an  ancient  king,  who  had  been  given  the  in- 
heritance of  his  father  Geb,  the  Earth-god.  He  was  com- 
monly called  "the  heir  of  Geb,"  who  "assigned  to  him 
the  leadership  of  the  lands  for  the  good  of  affairs.  He 
put  this  land  in  his  hand,  its  water,  its  air,  its  verdure,  all 
its  herds,  all  things  that  fly,  all  things  that  flutter,  its 
reptiles,  its  game  of  the  desert,  legally  conveyed  to  the 
son  of  Nut  (Osiris)."1 

Thus  Osiris  began  his  beneficent  rule,  and  "  Egypt  was 
content  therewith,  as  he  dawned  upon  the  throne  of  his 
father,  like  Re  when  he  rises  in  the  horizon,  when  he 
sends  forth  light  for  him  that  is  in  darkness.  He  shed 
forth  light  by  his  radiance,  and  he  flooded  the  Two  Lands 
like  the  sun  at  early  morning,  while  his  diadem  pierced 
the  sky  and  mingled  with  the  stars— he,  leader  of  every 
god,  excellent  in  command,  favorite  of  the  Great  Ennead, 
beloved  of  the  Little  Ennead."  2  In  power  and  splendor 
and  benevolence  he  ruled  a  happy  people.  He  "estab- 
lished justice  in  Egypt,  putting  the  son  in  the  seat  of  the 
father."  "He  overthrew  his  enemies,  and  with  a  mighty 
arm  he  slew  his  foes,  setting  the  fear  of  him  among  his 
adversaries,  and  extending  his  boundaries."  3 

His  sister  Isis,  who  was  at  the  same  time  his  wife,  stood 

1Hymn  to  Osiris  in  the  Bibliotheque  Nationale,  Stela  No.  20, 
published  by  Ledrain,  Les  monuments  egyptiens  de  la  Bibliotheque 
Nationale,  Paris,  1879,  pis.  xxi-xxviii,  11.  10-11.  Hereafter  cited 
as  Bib.  Nat.  No.  20.     It  dates  from  the  Eighteenth  Dynasty. 

2  Bib.  Nat.  No.  20,  11.  12-13.  3  Ibid.,  20,  11.  9-10. 


THE  ORIGINS  25 

loyally  at  his  side;  she  "protected  him,  driving  away 
enemies,  warding  off  "clanger,1  taking  the  foe  by  the  ex- 
cellence of  her  speech — she,  the  skilful-tongued,  whose 
word  failed  not,  excellent  in  command,  Isis,  effective  in 
protecting  her  brother."  1  The  arch  enemy  of  the  good 
Osiris  was  his  brother  Set,  who,  however,  feared  the  good 
king.2  The  Sun-god  warned  him  and  his  followers: 
"  Have  ye  done  aught  against  him  and  said  that  he  should 
die?     He  shall  not  die  but  he  shall  live  forever."  3 

Nevertheless  his  assailants  at  last  prevailed  against 
him,  if  not  openly  then  by  stratagem,  as  narrated  by 
Plutarch,  although  there  is  no  trace  in  the  Egyptian 
sources  of  Plutarch's  story  of  the  chest  into  which  the 
doomed  Osiris  was  lured  by  the  conspirators  and  then 
shut  in  to  die.4 

The  oldest  source,  the  Pyramid  Texts,  indicates  assas- 
sination: "his  brother  Set  felled  him  to  the  earth  in 
Nedyt";5  or  "his  brother  Set  overthrew  him  upon  his 
side,  on  the  further  side  of  the  land  of  Gehesti";6  but 
another  document  of  the  Pyramid  Age,  and  possibly 
quite  as  old  as  the  passages  quoted  from  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  says:  "Osiris  was  drowned  in  his  new  water  (the 
inundation)."  7 

When  the  news  reached  the  unhappy  Isis,  she  wandered 
in  great  affliction  seeking  the  body  of  her  lord,  "seeking 

1  Bib.  Nat.  No.  20,  11.  13-14. 

2  Pyr.  §  589.  The  same  intimations  are  discernible  throughout  this 
Utterance  (357). 

3  Pyr.  §  1471.  The  Pharaoh's  name  has  been  inserted  in  place  of 
the  last  pronoun.  In  the  variants  of  this  text  (§  481  and  §  944)  the 
enemy  is  in  the  singular. 

4  See  Schaefer,  Zeitschrift  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  41,  81  ff. 

6  Pyr.  §  1256.  «  Pyr>  §  972. 

7  British  Museum,  Stela  797,  11.  19  and  62.  On  this  monument 
see  infra,  pp.  41-47. 


26    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

him  unweariedly,  sadly  going  through  this  land,  nor  stop- 
ping until  she  found  him."  1  The  oldest  literature  is  full 
of  references  to  the  faithful  wife  unceasingly  seeking  her 
murdered  husband:  "Thou  didst  come  seeking  thy 
brother  Osiris,  when  his  brother  Set  had  overthrown 
him."  2  The  Plutarch  narrative  even  carries  her  across 
the  Mediterranean  to  Byblos,  where  the  body  of  Osiris 
had  drifted  in  the  waters.  The  Pyramid  Texts  refer  to 
the  fact  that  she  at  last  found  him  "upon  the  shore  of 
Nedyt,"  3  where  we  recall  he  was  slain  by  Set,  and  it  may 
be  indeed  that  Nedyt  is  an  ancient  name  for  the  region 
of  Byblos,  although  it  was  later  localized  at  Abydos,  and 
one  act  of  the  Osirian  passion  play  was  presented  at 
the  shore  of  Nedyt,  near  Abydos.4  The  introduction  of 
Byblos  is  at  least  as  old  as  the  thirteenth  century  B.  C, 
when  the  Tale  of  the  Two  Brothers  in  an  Osirian  incident 
pictures  the  Osirian  hero  as  slain  in  the  Valley  of  the 
Cedar,  which  can  have  been  nowhere  but  the  Syrian  coast 
where  the  cedar  flourished.  Indeed  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  Horus  is  at  one  point  represented  as  crossing  the 
sea.5  All  this  is  doubtless  closely  connected  with  the 
identification  of  Osiris  with  the  waters,  or  even  with  the 
sea,  and  harmonizes  easily  with  the  other  version  of  his 
death,  which  represents  him  as  drowning.  In  that  ver- 
sion "Isis  and  Nephthys  saw  him.  .  .  .  Horus  com- 
manded Isis  and  Nephthys  in  Busiris,  that  they  seize 
upon  Osiris,  and  that  they  prevent  him  from  drowning. 
They  turned  around  the  head  (of  Osiris)  .  .  .  and  they 

1  Bib.  Nat.  No.  20, 11.  14-15. 

2Pyr.  §972.  3  Pyr.  §  1008. 

4  See  infra,  p.  289.  Nedyt  was  conceived  as  near  Abydos  even  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts,  see  §  754,  where  Nedyt  occurs  in  parallelism 
with  Thinis  the  nome  of  Abydos, 

5  Pyr.  §§1505,  1508. 


THE  ORIGINS  27 

brought  him  to  the  land."  l  Nephthys  frequently  ac- 
companies her  sister  in  the  long  search,  both  of  them  being 
in  the  form  of  birds.  "Isis  comes,  Nephthys  comes,  one 
of  them  on  the  right,  one  of  them  on  the  left,  one  of  them 
as  a  het-bird,  one  of  them  as  a  falcon.  They  have  found 
Osiris,  as  his  brother  Set  felled  him  to  the  earth  in  Nedyt."  2 
"'I  have  found  (him),'  said  Nephthys,  when  they  saw 
Osiris  (lying)  on  his  side  on  the  shore.  ...  'O  my  brother, 
I  have  sought  thee;  raise  thee  up,  O  spirit.'"3  "The 
het-bird  comes,  the  falcon  comes;  they  are  Isis  and  Neph- 
thys, they  come  embracing  their  brother,  Osiris.  .  .  . 
Weep  for  thy  brother,  Isis!  Weep  for  thy  brother, 
Nephthys!  Weep  for  thy  brother.  Isis  sits,  her  arms 
upon  her  head;  Nephthys  has  seized  the  tips  of  her  breasts 
(in  mourning)  because  of  her  brother."  4  The  lamenta- 
tions of  Isis  and  Nephthys  became  the  most  sacred  ex- 
pression of  sorrow  known  to  the  heart  of  the  Egyptian, 
and  many  were  the  varied  forms  which  they  took  until 
they  emerged  in  the  Osirian  mysteries  of  Europe,  three 
thousand  years  later. 

Then  the  two  sisters  embalm  the  body  of  their  brother 
to  prevent  its  perishing,5  or  the  Sun-god  is  moved  with 
pity  and  despatches  the  ancient  mortuary  god  "Anubis 
.  .  .  lord  of  the  Nether  World,  to  whom  the  westerners 
(the  dead)  give  praise  .  .  .  him  who  was  in  the  middle 
of  the  mid-heaven,  fourth  of  the  sons  of  Re,  who  was 
made  to  descend  from  the  sky  to  embalm  Osiris,  because 
he  was  so  very  worthy  in  the  heart  of  Re."  6  Then  when 
they  have  laid  him  in  his  tomb  a  sycomore  grows  up  and 

1  Brit.  Museum,  797,  11.  62-63.  2  Pyr.  §§  1255-6. 

3  Pyr.  §§  2144-5.  4  Pyr.  §§  1280-2.  *  Pyr.  §  1257. 

6  Coffin  of  Heuui,  Steindorff,  Grabfunde  dcs  Mittleren  Reichs, 
II,  17. 


28    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

envelops  the  body  of  the  dead  god,  like  the  erica  in  the 
story  of  Plutarch.  This  sacred  tree  is  the  visible  symbol 
of  the  imperishable  life  of  Osiris,  which  in  the  earliest 
references  was  already  divine  and  might  be  addressed  as 
a  god.  Already  in  the  Pyramid  Age  men  sang  to  it: 
"Hail  to  thee,  Sycomore,  which  encloses  the  god,  under 
which  the  gods  of  the  Nether  Sky  stand,  whose  tips  are 
scorched,  whose  middle  is  burned,  who  art  just  in  "■  suffer- 
ing1. .  .  .  Thy  forehead  is  upon  thy  arm  (in  mourning) 
for  Osiris.  .  .  .  Thy  station,  O  Osiris;  thy  shade  over 
thee,  O  Osiris,  which  repels  thy  defiance,  O  Set;  the 
gracious  damsel  (meaning  the  tree)  which  was  made  for 
this  soul  of  Gehesti;   thy  shade,  O  Osiris."  l 

Such  was  the  life  and  death  of  Osiris.  His  career,  as 
picturing  the  cycle  of  nature,  could  not  of  course  end  here. 
It  is  continued  in  his  resurrection,  and  likewise  in  a  later 
addition  drawn  from  the  Solar  theology,  the  story  of  his 
son  Horus  and  the  Solar  feud  of  Horus  and  Set,  which 
was  not  originally  Osirian.  Even  in  death  the  life-giving 
power  of  Osiris  did  not  cease.  The  faithful  Isis  drew 
near  her  dead  lord,  "making  a  shadow  with  her  pinions 
and  causing  a  wind  with  her  wings  .  .  .  raising  the  weary 
limbs  of  the  silent-hearted  (dead),  receiving  his  seed, 
bringing  forth  an  heir,  nursing  the  child  in  solitude,  whose 
place  is  not  known,  introducing  him  when  his  arm  grew 
strong  in  the  Great  Hall"  (at  Heliopolis?).2 

1  Pyr.  §§  1285-7.  Gehesti  is  the  name  of  the  land  where  Osiris 
was  slain.  The  reference  to  the  scorching  and  burning  of  the  tree  is 
doubtless  the  earliest  native  mention  of  the  ceremony  of  enclosing 
an  image  of  Osiris  in  a  tree  and  burning  it,  as  narrated  by  Firmicus 
Maternus,  De  errore  profanarum  religionum,  27;  Frazer,  Adonis 
Attis  Osiris,  pp.  339-340. 

2  Bib.  Nat.  No.  20, 11.  15-16.  The  story  is  told  with  coarse  frank- 
ness also  in  the  Pyramid  Texts:  "Thy  sister  Isis  comes  to  thee,  re- 
joicing for  love  of  thee.     Ponis  earn  ad  phallum  tuum,  semen  tuum 


THE  ORIGINS  29 

The  imagination  of  the  common  people  loved  to  dwell 
upon  this  picture  of  the  mother  concealed  in  the  marshes 
of  the  Delta,  as  they  fancied,  by  the  city  of  Khemmis, 
and  there  bringing  up  the  youthful  Horus,  that  "when 
his  arm  grew  strong"  he  might  avenge  the  murder  of  his 
father.  All  this  time  Set  was,  of  course,  not  idle,  and 
many  were  the  adventures  and  escapes  which  befell  the 
child  at  the  hands  of  Set.  These  are  too  fragmentary 
preserved  to  be  reconstructed  clearly,  but  even  after  the 
youth  has  grown  up  and  attained  a  stature  of  eight  cubits 
(nearly  fourteen  feet),  he  is  obliged  to  have  a  tiny  chapel 
of  half  a  cubit  long  made,  in  which  he  conceals  himself 
from  Set.1  Grown  to  manhood,  however,  the  youthful 
god  emerges  at  last  from  his  hiding-place  in  the  Delta. 
In  the  oldest  fragments  we  hear  of  "Isis  the  great,  who 
fastened  on  the  girdle  in  Khemmis,  when  she  brought  her 
rcenserr  and  burned  incense  before  her  son  Horus,  the 
young  child,  when  he  was  going  through  the  land  on 
his  white  sandals,  that  he  might  see  his  father  Osiris." 2 
Again:  "Horus  comes  forth  from  Khemmis,  and  (the 
city  of)  Buto  arises  for  Horus,  and  he  purifies  him- 
self there.  Horus  comes  purified  that  he  may  avenge 
his  father."  3 

The  filial  piety  of  Horus  was  also  a  theme  which  the 
imagination  of  the  people  loved  to  contemplate,  as  he 
went  forth  to  overthrow  his  father's  enemies  and  take 
vengeance  upon  Set.     They  sang  to  Osiris:   "Horus  hath 

emergit  in  earn."  Pyr.  §  632,  and  again  less  clearly  in  Pyr.  §  1636. 
At  Abydos  and  Philae  the  incident  is  graphically  depicted  on  the 
wall  in  relief. 

1  See  Schaefer,  Zeitschr.f.  aegypt.  Sprache,  41,  81. 

2  Pyr.  §  1214. 

3  Pyr.  §  2190.  There  was  also  a  story  of  how  he  left  Buto,  to 
which  there  is  a  reference  in  Pyr.  §  1373=  §  1089. 


30    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

come  that  he  might  embrace  thee.  He  hath  caused 
Thoth  to  turn  back  the  followers  of  Set  before  thee.  He 
hath  brought  them  to  thee  all  together.  He  hath  turned 
back  the  heart  of  Set  before  thee,  for  thou  art  greater 
than  he.  Thou  hast  gone  forth  before  him,  thy  character 
is  before  him.  Geb  hath  seen  thy  character,  he  hath 
put  thee  in  thy  place.  Geb  hath  brought  to  thee  thy 
two  sisters  to  thy  side:  it  is  Isis  and  Nephthys.  Horus 
hath  caused  the  gods  to  unite  with  thee  and  fraternize 
with  thee.  .  .  .  He  hath  caused  that  the  gods  avenge 
thee.  Geb  hath  placed  his  foot  on  the  head  of  thy  enemy, 
who  hath  retreated  before  thee.  Thy  son  Horus  hath 
smitten  him.  He  hath  taken  away  his  eye  from  him; 
he  hath  given  it  to  thee,  that  thou  mightest  become  a  soul 
thereby  and  be  mighty  thereby  before  the  spirits.  Horus 
hath  caused  that  thou  seize  thy  enemies  and  that  there 
should  be  none  escaping  among  them  before  thee.  .  .  . 
Horus  hath  seized  Set,  he  hath  laid  him  for  thee  under 
thee,  that  he  (Set)  may  lift  thee  up  and  tremble  under 
thee  as  the  earth  trembles.  .  .  .  Horus  hath  caused  that 
thou  shouldest  recognize  him  in  his  inner  heart,  without 
his  escaping  from  thee.  O  Osiris,  .  .  .  Horus  hath 
avenged  thee."  *  "Horus  hath  come  that  he  may  recog- 
nize thee.  He  hath  smitten  Set  for  thee,  bound.  Thou 
art  his  (Set's)  ka.  Horus  hath  driven  him  back  for  thee; 
thou  art  greater  than  he.  He  swims  bearing  thee;  he 
carries  in  thee  one  greater  than  he.  His  followers  be- 
hold thee  that  thy  strength  is  greater  than  he,  and  they 
do  not  attack  thee.  Horus  comes,  he  recognizes  his 
father  in  thee,  youthful  (rnp)  in  thy  name  of  'Fresh 
Water'  (mw-rnpw)."2  "Loose  thou  Horus  from  his 
bonds,  that  he  may  punish  the  followers  of  Set.  Seize 
1  Pyr.  §§  575-582.  2  Pyr.  §§  587-9. 


THE  ORIGINS  31 

them,  remove  their  heads,  wade  thou  in  their  blood. 
Count  their  hearts  in  this  thy  name  of  'Anubis  counter 
of  hearts.'"1 

The  battle  of  Horus  with  Set,  which  as  we  shall  see  was 
a  Solar  incident,  waged  so  fiercely  that  the  young  god 
lost  his  eye  at  the  hands  of  his  father's  enemy.  When 
Set  was  overthrown,  and  it  was  finally  recovered  by 
Thoth,  this  wise  god  spat  upon  the  wound  and  healed  it. 
This  method  of  healing  the  eye,  which  is,  of  course,  folk- 
medicine  reflected  in  the  myth,  evidently  gained  wide 
popularity,  passed  into  Asia,  and  seems  to  reappear  in  the 
New  Testament  narrative,  in  the  incident  which  depicts 
Jesus  doubtless  deferring  to  recognized  folk-custom  in  em- 
ploying the  same  means  to  heal  a  blind  man.  Horus  now 
seeks  his  father,  even  crossing  the  sea  in  his  quest,2  that 
he  may  raise  his  father  from  the  dead  and  offer  to  him 
the  eye  which  he  has  sacrificed  in  his  father's  behalf. 
This  act  of  filial  devotion,  preserved  to  us  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts  (see  above,  p.  12),  made  the  already  sacred  Horus- 
eye  doubly  revered  in  the  tradition  and  feeling  of  the 
Egyptians.  It  became  the  symbol  of  all  sacrifice;  every 
gift  or  offering  might  be  called  a  "  Horus-eye,"  especially 
if  offered  to  the  dead.  Excepting  the  sacred  beetle,  or 
scarab,  it  became  the  commonest  and  the  most  revered 
symbol  known  to  Egyptian  religion,  and  the  myriads  of 
eyes,  wrought  in  blue  or  green  glaze,  or  even  cut  from 
costly  stone,  which  fill  our  museum  collections,  and  are 
brought  home  by  thousands  by  the  modern  tourist,  are 
survivals  of  this  ancient  story  of  Horus  and  his  devotion 
to  his  father. 

A  chapter  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  tells  the  whole  story  of 
the  resurrection.     "  The  gods  dwelling  in  Buto  'approach1 , 

1  Pyr.  §§  1285-7.  2  Pyr.  §§  1505,  1508. 


32     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

they  come  to  Osiris1  at  the  sound  of  the  mourning  of  Isis, 
at  the  cry  of  Nephthys,  at  the  wailing  of  these  two  horizon- 
gods  over  this  Great  One  who  came  forth  from  the  Nether 
World.  The  souls  of  Buto  wave  their  arms  to  thee,  they 
strike  their  flesh  for  thee,  they  throw  their  arms  for  thee, 
they  beat  on  their  temples  for  thee.  They  say  of  thee, 
O  Osiris: 

" '  Though  thou  departest,  thou  comest  (again) ;  though 
thou  sleepest,  thou  wakest  (again);  though  thou  diest, 
thou  livest  (again).' 

"'Stand  up,  that  thou  mayest  see  what  thy  son  has 
done  for  thee.  Awake,  that  thou  mayest  hear  what 
Horus  has  done  for  thee.' 

" '  He  has  smitten  (hy)  for  thee  the  one  that  smote  thee, 
as  an  ox  (yh);  he  has  slain  (sm')  for  thee  the  one  that 
slew  thee,  as  a  wild  bull  (sm').  He  has  bound  for  thee 
the  one  that  bound  thee.' 

"'He  has  put  himself  under  thy  daughter,  the  Great 
One  (fern.)  dwelling  in  the  East,  that  there  may  be  no 
mourning  in  the  palace  of  the  gods.' 

"Osiris  speaks  to  Horus  when  he  has  removed  the  evil 
that  was  in  Osiris  on  his  fourth  day,  and  had  forgotten 
what  was  done  to  him  on  his  eighth  day.  Thou  hast 
come  forth  from  the  lake  of  life,  purified  in  the  celestial 
lake,  becoming  Upwawet.  Thy  son  Horus  leads  thee 
when  he  has  given  to  thee  the  gods  who  were  against  thee, 
and  Thoth  has  brought  them  to  thee.  How  beautiful  are 
they  who  saw,  how  satisfied  are  they  who  beheld,  who  saw 
Horus  when  he  gave  life  to  his  father,  when  he  offered 
satisfaction  to  Osiris  before  the  western  gods." 

"Thy  libation  is  poured  by  Isis,  Nephthys  has  purified 

1  The  name  of  the  king  for  whom  the  chapter  was  employed  has 
been  inserted  here. 


THE  ORIGINS  33 

thee,  thy  two  great  and  mighty  sisters,  who  have  put  to- 
gether thy  flesh,  who  have  fastened  together  thy  limbs, 
who  have  made  thy  two  eyes  to  shine  (again)  in  thy 
head."  x 

Sometimes  it  is  Horus  who  puts  together  the  limbs  of 
the  dead  god,2  or  again  he  finds  his  father  as  embalmed  by 
his  mother  and  Anubis:  "Horus  comes  to  thee,  he  sepa- 
rates thy  bandages,  he  throws  off  thy  bonds;" 3  "arise,  give 
thou  thy  hand  to  Horus,  that  he  may  raise  thee  up." 
Over  and  over  again  the  rising  of  Osiris  is  reiterated,  as 
the  human  protest  against  death  found  insistent  expres- 
sion in  the  invincible  fact  that  he  rose.  We  see  the  tomb 
opened  for  him:  "The  brick  are  drawn  for  thee  out  of  the 
great  tomb,"  4  and  then  "  Osiris  awakes,  the  weary  god 
wakens,  the  god  stands  up,  he  gains  control  of  his  body."  5 
"Stand  up!    Thou  shalt  not  end,  thou  shalt  not  perish."  6 

The  malice  of  Set  was  not  spent,  however,  even  after  his 
defeat  by  Horus  and  the  resurrection  of  Osiris.  He  en- 
tered the  tribunal  of  the  gods  at  Heliopolis  and  lodged  with 
them  charges  against  Osiris.  We  have  no  clear  account 
of  this  litigation,  nor  of  the  nature  of  the  charges,  except 
that  Set  was  using  them  to  gain  the  throne  of  Egypt. 
There  must  have  been  a  version  in  which  the  subject  of 
the  trial  was  Set's  crime  in  slaying  Osiris.     In  dramatic 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  670,  §§  1976-82,  as  restored  from  Ut.  482  (a  shorter 
redaction),  and  the  tomb  of  Harhotep  and  the  tomb  of  Psamtik. 
(See  Sethe,  Pyr.t  vol.  II,  pp.  iii-iv,  Nos.  6,  10,  11). 

2  Pyr.  §§  617,  634.  3  Pyr.  §§  2201-2. 
4  Pyr.  §  572.                                      5  Pyr.  §  2092. 

6  Pyr.  §  1299.  Commonly  so  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  It  became  a 
frequent  means  of  introducing  the  formulas  of  the  ritual  of  mortuary 
offerings,  in  order  that  the  dead  might  be  roused  to  partake  of  the 
food  offered;  see  Pyr.  §654  and  §735,  or  Ut.  413  and  437  entire. 
The  resurrection  of  Osiris  by  Re  was  doubtless  a  theological  device 
for  correlating  the  Solar  and  Osirian  doctrines  (Pyr.  §  721). 


34    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

setting  the  Pyramid  Texts  depict  the  scene.  "  The  sky  is 
troubled,  earth  trembles,  Horus  comes,  Thoth  appears. 
They  lift  Osiris  from  his  side;  they  make  him  stand  up 
before  the  two  Divine  Enneads.  '  Remember  O  Set,  and 
put  it  in  thy  heart,  this  word  which  Geb  spoke,  and  this 
manifestation  which  the  gods  made  against  you  in  the 
hall  of  the  prince  in  Heliopolis,  because  thou  didst  fell 
Osiris  to  the  earth.  When  thou  didst  say,  O  Set,  "  I  have 
not  done  this  to  him,"  that  thou  mightest  prevail  thereby, 
being  saved  that  thou  mightest  prevail  against  Horus. 
When  thou  didst  say,  O  Set,  "It  was  he  who  bowed  me 
down"  .  .  .  When  thou  didst  say,  O  Set,  "It  was  he  who 
attacked  me"  .  .  .  Lift  thee  up,  O  Osiris!  Set  has 
lifted  himself:  He  has  heard  the  threat  of  the  gods  who 
spoke  of  the  Divine  Father.  Isis  has  thy  arm,  Osiris; 
Nephthys  has  thy  hand  and  thou  goest  between  them.'"  x 
But  Osiris  is  triumphantly  vindicated,  and  the  throne 
is  restored  to  him  against  the  claims  of  Set.  "  He  is  justi- 
fied through  that  which  he  has  done.  .  .  .  The  Two  Truths2 
have  held  the  legal  hearing.  Shu  was  witness.  The  Two 
Truths  commanded  that  the  thrones  of  Geb  should  revert 
to  him,  that  he  should  raise  himself  to  that  which  he  de- 
sired, that  his  limbs  which  were  in  concealment  should  be 
gathered  together  (again) ;  that  he  should  join  those  who 
dwell  in  Nun  (the  primeval  ocean);  and  that  he  should 
terminate  the  words  in  Heliopolis."  3 

iPyr.  §§956-960. 

2  On  the  Two  Truths  see  the  same  phrase  in  the  Book  of  the 
Dead,  infra,  p.  299  and  notes  2  and  3. 

3  Pyr.  §§  316-318.  Compare  also,  '"Set  is  guilty,  Osiris  is  righteous,' 
(words)  from  the  mouth  of  the  gods  on  that  good  day  of  going  forth 
upon  the  mountain"  (for  the  interment  of  Osiris)  (Pyr.  §1556),  from 
which  it  would  appear  that  there  was  a  verdict  before  the  resurrec- 
tion of  Osiris. 


THE  ORIGINS  35 

The  verdict  rendered  in  favor  of  Orisis,  which  we  trans- 
late "justified/'  really  means  "true,  right,  just,  or  right- 
eous of  voice."  It  must  have  been  a  legal  term  already 
in  use  when  this  episode  in  the  myth  took  form.  It  is 
later  used  in  frequent  parallelism  with  "  victorious "  or 
"victory,"  and  possessed  the  essential  meaning  of  "trium- 
phant" or  "triumph,"  both  in  a  moral  as  well  as  a  purely 
material  and  physical  sense.  The  later  development  of  the 
Osirian  litigation  shows  that  it  gained  a  moral  sense  in 
this  connection,  if  it  did  not  possess  it  in  the  beginning. 
We  shall  yet  have  occasion  to  observe  the  course  of  the 
moral  development  involved  in  the  wide  popularity  of  this 
incident  in  the  Osiris  myth. 

The  gods  rejoice  in  the  triumph  of  Osiris. 

"All  gods  dwelling  in  the  sky  are  satisfied; 
All  gods  dwelling  in  the  earth  are  satisfied; 
All  gods  southern  and  northern  are  satisfied; 
All  gods  western  and  eastern  are  satisfied; 
All  gods  of  the  nomes  are  satisfied; 
All  gods  of  the  cities  are  satisfied; 

with  this  great  and  mighty  word  that  came  out  of  the 
mouth  of  Thoth  in  favor  of  Osiris,  treasurer  of  life,  seal- 
bearer  of  the  gods."  x 

The  penalty  laid  upon  Set  was  variously  narrated  in  the 
different  versions  of  the  myth.  The  Pyramid  Texts  several 
times  refer  to  the  fact  that  Set  was  obliged  to  take  Osiris 
on  his  back  and  carry  him.  "Hoi  Osiris!  Rouse  thee! 
Horus  causes  that  Thoth  bring  to  thee  thy  enemy.  He 
places  thee  upon  his  back.  Make  thy  seat  upon  him. 
Ascend  and  sit  down  upon  him;  let  him  not  escape  thee"; 2 
or  again,  "The  great  Ennead  avenges  thee;   they  put  for 

1  Pyr.  §§  1522-3.  2  Pyr.  §§  G51-2;  see  also  §§  642,  649. 


36    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

thee  thy  enemy  under  thee.  'Carry  one  who  is  greater 
than  thou/  say  they  of  him.  .  .  .  'Lift  up  one  greater 
than  thou/  say  they. "  x  " '  He  to  whom  evil  was  done  by 
his  brother  Set  comes  to  us/  say  the  Two  Divine  Enneads, 
'but  we  shall  not  permit  that  Set  be  free  from  bearing  thee 
forever,  O  king  Osiris/  say  the  Two  Divine  Enneads  con- 
cerning thee,  O  king  Osiris."  2  If  Osiris  is  here  the  earth 
as  commonly,  it  may  be  that  we  have  in  this  episode  the 
earliest  trace  of  the  Atlas  myth.  Another  version,  how- 
ever, discloses  Set,  bound  hand  and  foot  "and  laid  upon 
his  side  in  the  Land  of  Ru,"  3  or  slaughtered  and  cut  up  as 
an  ox  and  distributed  as  food  to  the  gods; 4  or  he  is  de- 
livered to  Osiris  "cut  into  three  pieces."5 

The  risen  and  victorious  Osiris  receives  the  kingdom. 
"The  sky  is  given  to  thee,  the  earth  is  given  to  thee,  the 
fields  of  Rushes  are  given  to  thee,  the  Horite  regions,  the 
Setite  regions,  the  cities  are  given  to  thee.  The  nomes  are 
united  for  thee  by  Atum.  It  is  Geb  (the  Earth-god)  who 
speaks  concerning  it."  6  Indeed  Geb,  the  Earth-god  and 
father  of  Osiris,  "assigned  the  countries  to  the  embrace  of 
Osiris,  when  he  found  him  lying  upon  his  side  in  Gehesti. "  7 
Nevertheless  Osiris  does  not  really  belong  to  the  kingdom 
of  the  living.  His  dominion  is  the  gloomy  Nether  World 
beneath  the  earth,  to  which  he  at  once  descends.  After  his 
death,  one  of  the  oldest  sources  says  of  him:  "He  entered 
the  secret  gates  in  the  ^splendid1  precincts  of  the  lords  of 
eternity,  at  the  goings  of  him  who  rises  in  the  horizon,  upon 
the  ways  of  Re  in  the  Great  Seat."  8  There  he  is  pro- 
claimed king.     Horus  "  proclaimed  the  royal  decree  in  the 

1  Pyr.  §§  626-7,  var.  §  1628.     See  also  §  1632. 

2  Pyr.  §  1699.  3  Pyr.  §  1035.  4  Pyr.  Ut.  580. 
*  Pyr.  Ut.  543;  see  also  1339.  6  Pyr.  §  961. 

i  Pyr.  §  1033.  8  Brit.  Mus.  Stela  797,  1.  63. 


THE  ORIGINS  37 

places  of  Anubis.1  Every  one  hearing  it,  he  shall  not  live."2 
It  was  a  subterranean  kingdom  of  the  dead  over  which 
Osiris  reigned,  and  it  was  as  champion  and  friend  of 
the  dead  that  he  gained  his  great  position  in  Egyptian 
religion. 

But  it  will  be  discerned  at  once  that  the  Osiris  myth  ex- 
pressed those  hopes  and  aspirations  and  ideals  which  were 
closest  to  the  life  and  the  affections  of  this  great  people. 
Isis  was  the  noblest  embodiment  of  wifely  fidelity  and 
maternal  solicitude,  while  the  highest  ideals  of  filial  devo- 
tion found  expression  in  the  story  of  Horus.  About  this 
group  of  father,  mother,  and  son  the  affectionate  fancy  of 
the  common  folk  wove  a  fair  fabric  of  family  ideals  which 
rise  high  above  such  conceptions  elsewhere.  In  the  Osiris 
myth  the  institution  of  the  family  found  its  earliest  and 
most  exalted  expression  in  religion,  a  glorified  reflection  of 
earthly  ties  among  the  gods.  The  catastrophe  and  the 
ultimate  triumph  of  the  righteous  cause  introduced  here  in 
a  nature-myth  are  an  impressive  revelation  of  the  pro- 
foundly moral  consciousness  with  which  the  Egyptian  at 
a  remote  age  contemplated  the  world.  When  we  consider, 
furthermore,  that  Osiris  was  the  kindly  dispenser  of  plenty, 
from  whose  prodigal  hand  king  and  peasant  alike  received 
their  daily  bounty,  that  he  was  waiting  over  yonder  be- 
hind the  shadow  of  death  to  waken  all  who  have  fallen 
asleep  to  a  blessed  hereafter  with  him,  and  that  in  every 
family  group  the  same  affections  and  emotions  which  had 
found  expression  in  the  beautiful  myth  were  daily  and 
hourly  experiences,  we  shall  understand  something  of  the 
reason  for  the  universal  devotion  which  was  ultimately 
paid  the  dead  god. 
The  conquest  of  Egypt  by  the  Osiris  faith  was,  however, 
1  An  old  god  of  the  hereafter.  2  Pyr.  §  1335. 


( 


38    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

a  gradual  process.  He  had  once  in  prehistoric  times  been 
a  dangerous  god,  and  the  tradition  of  his  unfavorable 
character  survived  in  vague  reminiscences  long  centuries 
after  he  had  gained  wide  popularity.1  At  that  time  the 
dark  and  forbidding  realm  which  he  ruled  had  been  feared 
and  dreaded.2  In  the  beginning,  too,  he  had  been  local  to 
the  Delta,  where  he  had  his  home  in  the  city  of  Dedu,  later 
called  Busiris  by  the  Greeks.  His  transformation  into  a 
friend  of  man  and  kindly  ruler  of  the  dead  took  place  here 
in  prehistoric  ages,  and  at  an  enormously  remote  date, 
before  the  two  kingdoms  of  Upper  and  Lower  Egypt  were 
united  under  one  king  (3400  B.C.),  the  belief  in  him  spread 
into  the  southern  Kingdom.3  He  apparently  first  found 
a  home  in  the  south  at  Siut,  and  in  the  Pyramid  Texts 
we  read,  "Isis  and  Nephthys  salute  thee  in  Siut,  (even) 
their  lord  in  thee,  in  thy  name  of 'Lord  of  Siut.'"4 
But  the  Osirian  faith  was  early  localized  at  Abydos, 
whither  an  archaic  mortuary  god,  known  as  Khenti- 
Amentiu,  "First  of  the  Westerners,"  had  already  pre- 
ceded Osiris.5  There  he  became  the  "  Dweller  in  Nedyt, "  6 
and  even  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  he  is  identified  with  the 
"  First  of  the  Westerners. " 

iPyr.  §§1266-7. 

2  Pyr.  §§251,  350;  see  also  infra,  pp.  142-3. 

3  This  is  shown  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  where  the  sycomore  of 
Osiris  is  thus  addressed:  ''Thou  hast  hurled  thy  terror  into  the  heart 
of  the  kings  of  Lower  Egypt  dwelling  in  Buto"  (Pyr.  §  1488).  Osiris 
must  therefore  have  reached  Upper  Egypt,  and  have  become  domi- 
ciled there  at  a  time  when  the  kings  of  the  North  were  still  hostile. 

4  Pyr.  §  630.  There  is  not  space  here  to  correlate  this  fact  with 
Meyer's  results  regarding  the  wolf  and  jackal  gods  at  Abydos  and 
Siut. 

5  See  Maspero,  Etudes  de  mythologie  et  d' archeologie  tgyptiennes, 
II,  pp.  10,  359,  etc.,  and  Eduard  Meyer,  Zeilschr.  fiir  aegypt. 
Sprache,  41,  pp.  97  ff. 

6  Pyr.  §  754. 


THE  ORIGINS  39 

"Thou  art  on  the  throne  of  Osiris, 
As  representative  of  the  First  of  the  Westerners."  ! 

As  "Lord  of  Abydos,"  Osiris  continued  his  triumphant 
career,  and  ultimately  was  better  known  under  this  title 
than  by  his  old  association  with  Busiris  (Dedu).  All  this, 
however,  belongs  to  the  historical  development  which  we 
are  to  follow. 

In  spite  of  its  popular  origin  we  shall  see  that  the  Osirian 
faith,  like  that  of  the  Sun-god,  entered  into  the  most  in- 
timate relations  with  the  kingship.  In  probably  the  oldest 
religious  feast  of  which  any  trace  has  been  preserved  in 
Egypt,  known  as  the  "Heb-Sed"  or  "Sed-Feast,"  the 
king  assumed  the  costume  and  insignia  of  Osiris,  and  un- 
doubtedly impersonated  him.  The  significance  of  this 
feast  is,  however,  entirely  obscure  as  yet.  The  most  sur- 
prising misunderstandings  have  gained  currency  concern- 
ing it,  and  the  use  of  it  for  far-reaching  conclusions  before 
the  surviving  materials  have  all  been  put  together  is  pre- 
mature. 

One  of  the  ceremonies  of  this  feast  symbolized  the 
resurrection  of  Osiris,  and  it  was  possibly  to  associate  the 
Pharaoh  with  this  auspicious  event  that  he  assumed  the 
role  of  Osiris.  In  the  end  the  deceased  Pharoah  became 
Osiris  and  enjoyed  the  same  resuscitation  by  Horus  and 
Isis,  all  the  divine  privileges,  and  the  same  felicity  in  the 
hereafter  which  had  been  accorded  the  dead  god. 

Some  attempt  to  correlate  the  two  leading  gods  of  Egypt, 

^yr.  §2021;  see  also  §1996.  Eduard  Meyer  (ibid.,  p.  100) 
states  that  Osiris  is  never  identified  with  Khenti-Amentiu  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts,  and  it  is  true  that  the  two  names  are  not  placed  side 
by  side  as  proper  name  and  accompanying  epithet  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  as  they  are  so  commonly  later,  but  such  a  parallel  as  that 
above  seems  to  me  to  indicate  essential  identity. 


40    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  Sun-god  and  Osiris,  was  finally  inevitable.  The  har- 
monization was  accomplished  by  the  Solar  theologians  at 
Heliopolis,  though  not  without  inextricable  confusion,  as 
the  two  faiths,  which  had  already  interfused  among  the 
people,  were  now  wrought  together  into  a  theological  sys- 
tem. It  is  quite  evident  from  the  Pyramid  Texts  that  the 
feud  between  Horus  and  Set  was  originally  a  Solar  incident, 
and  quite  independent  of  the  Osiris  myth.  We  find  that 
in  the  mortuary  ceremonies,  Set's  spittle  is  used  to  purify 
the  dead  in  the  same  words  as  that  of  Horus;1  and  that 
Set  may  perform  the  same  friendly  offices  for  the  dead  as 
those  of  Horus.2  Indeed  we  find  him  fraternizing  with  the 
dead,  precisely  as  Horus  does.3  We  find  them  without 
distinction,  one  on  either  side  of  the  dead,  holding  his  arms 
and  aiding  him  as  he  ascends  to  the  Sun-god.4  Set  was 
king  of  the  South  on  equal  terms  with  Horus  as  king  of  the 
North;5  over  and  over  again  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  they 
appear  side  by  side,  though  implacable  enemies,  without 
the  least  suggestion  that  Set  is  a  foul  and  detested  divinity.6 
There  are  even  traces  of  a  similar  ancient  correlation  of 
Osiris  himself  with  Set!7  Set  appears  too  without  any 
unfavorable  reflection  upon  him  in  connection  with  the 
Sun-god  and  his  group,8  and  in  harmony  with  this  an  old 
doctrine  represents  Set  as  in  charge  of  the  ladder  by  which 
the  dead  may  ascend  to  the  Sun-god — the  ladder  up  which 
he  himself  once  climbed.9  Set  was  doubtless  some  natural 
phenomenon  like  the  others  of  the  group  to  which  he  be- 
longs, and  it  is  most  probable  that  he  was  the  darkness.  He 
and  Horus  divided  Egypt  between  them,  Set  being  most 

1  Pyr.  §  850.  2  Pyr.  §§  1492-3.  3  Pyr.  §  1016=  §  801. 

4  Pyr.  §  390.  6  Pyr.  §§  204-6. 

6  See  Pyr.  §§  418,  473,  487,  535,  594,  601,  683,  798,  823,  946,  971, 
1148. 

7  Pyr.  §§  832,  865.         8  Pyr.  §  370.  9  Pyr.  §§  478,  1148,  1253. 


THE  ORIGINS  41 

commonly  represented  as  taking  the  South  and  Horus  the 
North.  The  oldest  royal  monuments  of  Egypt  represent 
the  falcon  of  Horus  and  the  strange  animal  (probably  the 
okapi)  of  Set,  side  by  side,  as  the  symbol  of  the  kingship  of 
the  two  kingdoms  now  ruled  by  one  Pharaoh.  It  is  not 
our  purpose,  nor  have  we  the  space  here,  to  study  the  ques- 
tion of  Set,  further  than  to  demonstrate  that  he  belonged 
to  the  Solar  group,  on  full  equality  with  Horus. 

By  what  process  Set  became  the  enemy  of  Osiris  we  do 
not  know.  The  sources  do  not  disclose  it.  When  this 
had  once  happened,  however,  it  would  be  but  natural 
that  the  old  rival  of  Set,  the  Solar  Horus,  should  be 
drawn  into  the  Osirian  situation,  and  that  his  hostility 
toward  Set  should  involve  his  championship  of  the  cause 
of  Osiris.  An  old  Memphite  document  of  the  Pyramid 
Age  unmistakably  discloses  the  absorption  of  the  Set- 
Horus  feud  by  the  Osirian  theology.  In  dramatic  dia- 
logue we  discern  Geb  assigning  their  respective  kingdoms 
to  Horus  and  Set,  a  purely  Solar  episode,  while  at  the  same 
time  Geb  involves  in  this  partition  the  incidents  of  the 
Osirian  story. 

"Geb  says  to  Set:  'Go  to  the  place  where  thou  wast 
born.'" 

"  Geb  says  to  Horus :  '  Go  to  the  place  where  thy  father 
was  drowned/  " 

"Geb  says  to  Horus  and  Set:  'I  have  separated  you.'" 

"Set:  Upper  Egypt." 

"Horus:  Lower  Egypt." 

"  [Horus  and  Set] :    Upper  and  Lower  Egypt." 

"  Geb  says  to  the  Divine  Ennead :  '  I  have  conveyed  my 
heritage  to  this  my  heir,  the  son  of  my  first-born  son.  He 
is  my  son,  my  child.' " 

The  equality  of  Horus  and  Set,  as  in  the  old  Solar 


42    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

theology,  is  quite  evident,  but  Horus  is  here  made  the 
son  of  Osiris.  An  ancient  commentator  on  this  passage 
has  appended  the  following  explanation  of  Geb's  pro- 
ceeding in  assigning  the  kingdoms. 

"  He  gathered  together  the  Divine  Ennead  and  he  sepa- 
rated Horus  and  Set.  He  prevented  their  conflict  and 
he  installed  Set  as  king  of  Upper  Egypt  in  Upper  Egypt, 
in  the  place  where  he  was  born  in  Sesesu.  Then  Geb 
installed  Horus  as  king  of  Lower  Egypt,  in  Lower  Egypt 
in  the  place  where  his  father  was  drowned,  at  (the  time  of) 
the  dividing  of  the  Two  Lands." 

"Then  Horus  stood  in  (one)  district,  when  they  satis- 
fied the  Two  Lands  in  Ayan — that  is  the  boundary  of  the 
Two  Lands." 

"Then  Set  stood  in  the  (other)  district,  when  they 
satisfied  the  Two  Lands  in  Ayan — that  is  the  boundary 
of  the  Two  Lands. 

"It  was  evil  to  the  heart  of  Geb,  that  the  portion  of 
Horus  was  (only)  equal  to  the  portion  of  Set.  Then  Geb 
gave  his  heritage  to  Horus,  this  son  of  his  first-born  son, 
and  Horus  stood  in  the  land  and  united  this  land."  * 

Here  the  Osirian  point  of  view  no  longer  permits  Set 
and  Horus  to  rule  in  equality  side  by  side,  but  Set  is  dis- 
possessed, and  Horus  receives  all  Egypt.  The  Solar 
theologians  of  Heliopolis  certainly  did  not  take  this  posi- 
tion in  the  beginning.  They  built  up  a  group,  which  we 
have  already  noted,  of  nine  gods  (commonly  called  an 
ennead),  headed  by  the  ancient  Atum,  and  among  this 
group  of  nine  divinities  appears  Osiris,  who  had  no  real 

1  British  Museum,  Stela  No.  797,  as  reconstructed  by  Erman,  Ein 
Denkmal  memphitischer  Theologie  (Sitzungsber.  der  Kgl.  Preuss.  Akad., 
1911,  XLIII),  pp.  925-932.  On  this  remarkable  monument  see  also 
below,  pp.  43-47. 


THE  ORIGINS  43 

original  connection  with  the  Solar  myth.  As  Horus  had 
no  place  in  the  original  ennead,  it  was  the  more  easy  to 
appropriate  him  for  the  Osirian  theology.  As  the  process 
of  correlation  went  on,  it  is  evident  also  that,  like  Osiris,  the 
local  gods  of  all  the  temples  were  more  and  more  drawn 
into  the  Solar  theology.  The  old  local  Sun-gods  had 
merged,  and  we  find  five  Solar  divinities  in  a  single  list 
in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  all  addressed  as  Re.1  A  distinct 
tendency  toward  Solar  henotheism,  or  even  pantheism, 
is  now  discernible.  Each  of  the  leading  temples  and 
priesthoods  endeavored  to  establish  the  local  god  as  the 
focus  of  this  centralizing  process.  The  political  prestige 
of  the  Sun-god,  however,  made  the  issue  quite  certain. 
It  happens,  however,  that  the  system  of  a  less  important 
temple  than  that  of  Heliopolis  is  the  one  which  has  sur- 
vived to  us.  A  mutilated  stela  in  the  British  Museum, 
on  which  the  priestly  scribes  of  the  eighth  century  B.  C. 
have  copied  and  rescued  a  worm-eaten  papyrus  which  was 
falling  to  pieces  in  their  day,  has  preserved  for  two  thou- 
sand seven  hundred  years  more,  and  thus  brought  down 
to  our  time,  the  only  fragment  of  the  consciously  con- 
structive thought  of  the  time,  as  the  priests  endeavored 
to  harmonize  into  one  system  the  vast  complex  of  inter- 
fused local  beliefs  which  made  up  the  religion  of  Egypt. 

It  was  the  priests  of  Ptah,  the  master  craftsman  of  the 
gods,  whose  temple  was  at  Memphis,  who  are  at  this  junct- 
ure our  guides  in  tracing  the  current  of  religious  thought 
in  this  remote  age.  This  earliest  system,  as  they  wrought 
it  out,  of  course  made  Ptah  of  Memphis  the  great  and 
central  figure.  He  too  had  his  Memphite  ennead  made 
up  of  a  primeval  Ptah  and  eight  emanations  or  mani- 
festations of  himself.  In  the  employment  of  an  ennead 
lPyr.  §§1444-9. 


44    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

to  begin  with,  the  theologians  of  Memphis  were  betray- 
ing the  influence  of  Heliopolis,  where  the  first  ennead  had 
its  origin.  The  supremacy  of  the  Solar  theology,  even  in 
this  Memphite  system,  is  further  discernible  in  the  in- 
evitable admission  of  the  fact  that  Atum  the  Sun-god 
was  the  actual  immediate  creator  of  the  world.  But  this 
they  explained  in  this  way.  One  of  the  members  of  the 
Memphite  ennead  bears  the  name  "Ptah  the  Great," 
and  to  this  name  is  appended  the  remarkable  explanation, 
"he  is  the  heart  and  tongue  of  the  ennead,"  meaning  of 
course  the  Memphite  ennead.  This  enigmatic  "heart  and 
tongue"  are  then  identified  with  Atum,  who,  perhaps 
operating  through  other  intermediate  gods,  accomplishes 
all  things  through  the  "heart  and  tongue."  When  we 
recall  that  the  Egyptian  constantly  used  "heart"  as  the 
seat  of  the  mind,  we  are  suddenly  aware  also  that  he  pos- 
sessed no  word  for  mind.  A  study  of  the  document 
demonstrates  that  the  ancient  thinker  is  using  "heart"  as 
his  only  means  of  expressing  the  idea  of  "mind,"  as  he 
vaguely  conceived  it.  From  Ptah  then  proceeded  "the 
power  of  mind  and  tongue"  which  is  the  controlling 
power  in  "  all  gods,  all  men,  all  animals,  and  all  reptiles, 
which  live,  thinking  and  commanding  that  which  he  wills." 1 
After  further  demonstrating  that  the  members  of  Atum, 
especially  his  mouth  which  spake  words  of  power,  were 
made  up  of  the  ennead  of  Ptah,  and  thus  of  Ptah  himself, 
our  thinker  passes  on  to  explain  his  conception  of  the  func- 
tion of  "heart  (mind)  and  tongue."  "When  the  eyes  see, 
the  ears  hear,  and  the  nose  breathes,  they  transmit  to  the 

1  The  verbal  form  of  "thinking"  is  questionable,  but  no  other  in- 
terpretation seems  possible.  Whether  "he"  in  "he  wills"  refers  to 
Ptah  directly  or  to  the  "power  of  mind  and  tongue"  is  not  essential, 
as  the  latter  proceeds  from  Ptah. 


THE  ORIGINS  45 

heart.  It  is  he  (the  heart)  who  brings  forth  every  issue, 
and  it  is  the  tongue  which  repeats  the  thought  of  the  heart. 
He1  fashioned  all  gods,  even  Atum  and  his  ennead.  Every 
divine  word  came  into  existence  by  the  thought  of  the 
heart  and  the  commandment  of  the  tongue.  It  was  he 
who  made  the  kas  and  [created1  the  qualities;2  who 
made  all  food,  all  offerings,  by  this  word;  who  made  that 
which  is  loved  and  that  which  is  hated.  It  was  he  who 
gave  life  to  the  peaceful  and  death  to  the  guilty." 

After  this  enumeration  of  things  chiefly  supermaterial, 
of  which  the  mind  and  the  tongue  were  the  creator,  our 
Memphite  theologian  passes  to  the  world  of  material 
things. 

:  "It  was  he  who  made  every  work,  every  handicraft, 
which  the  hands  make,  the  going  of  the  feet,  the  move- 
ment of  every  limb,  according  to  his  command,  through 
the  thought  of  the  heart  that  came  forth  from  the 
tongue." 

"There  came  the  saying  that  Atum,  who  created  the 
gods,  stated  concerning  Ptah-Tatenen :  'He  is  the  fash- 
ioner of  the  gods,  he,  from  whom  all  things  went  forth, 
even  offerings,  and  food  and  divine  offerings  and  every 
good  thing!  And  Thoth  perceived  that  his  strength  was 
greater  than  all  gods.  Then  Ptah  was  satisfied,  after  he 
had  made  all  things  and  every  divine  word." 

1  Heart  and  tongue  have  the  same  gender  in  Egyptian  and  the  pro- 
noun may  equally  well  refer  to  either.  I  use  "he"  for  heart  and 
"it"  for  tongue,  but,  I  repeat,  the  distinction  is  not  certain  here. 

2  Hmswt,  which,  as  Brugsch  has  shown  (Woerterbuch  SuppL,  pp. 
996  jf.),  indicates  the  qualities  of  the  Sun-god,  here  attributed,  in 
origin,  to  Ptah.  These  are:  "Might,  radiance,  prosperity,  victory, 
wealth,  plenty,  augustness,  readiness  or  equipment,  making,  intelli- 
gence, adornment,  stability,  obedience,  nourishment  (or  taste)." 
They  appear  with  the  kas  at  royal  births,  wearing  on  their  heads 
shields  with  crossed  arrows.     So  at  Der  el-Bahri. 


46    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"He  fashioned  the  gods,  he  made  the  cities,  he  settled 
the  nomes.  He  installed  the  gods  in  their  holy  places,  he 
made  their  offerings  to  flourish,  he  equipped  their  holy 
places.  He  made  likenesses  of  their  bodies  to  the  satis- 
faction of  their  hearts.  Then  the  gods  entered  into  their 
bodies  of  every  wood  and  every  stone  and  every  metal. 
Everything  grew  upon  its  trees  whence  they  came  forth. 
Then  he  assembled  all  the  gods  and  their  kas  (saying  to 
them) :  'Come  ye  and  take  possession  of  "Neb-towe,"  the 
divine  store-house  of  Ptah-Tatenen,  the  great  seat,  which 
delights  the  heart  of  the  gods  dwelling  in  the  House  of 
Ptah,  the  mistress  of  life  .  .  .  whence  is  furnished  the 
"Life  of  the  Two  Lands.'""  ' 

In  this  document  we  are  far  indeed  from  the  simple 
folk-tales  of  the  origin  of  the  world,  which  make  up  the 
mythology  of  Egypt.  Assuming  the  existence  of  Ptah  in 
the  beginning,  the  Memphite  theologian  sees  all  things  as 
first  existing  in  the  thought  of  the  god.     This  world  first 

1  British  Museum,  Stela  No.  797,  formerly  No.  135,  11.  48-61. 
This  remarkable  document  long  rested  in  obscurity  after  its  acquire- 
ment by  the  British  Museum  in  1805.  The  stone  had  been  used  a,s  a 
nether  millstone,  almost  abrading  the  inscription  and  rendering  it  so 
illegible  that  the  process  of  copying  was  excessively  difficult.  It  was 
early  published  by  Sharpb  (Inscriptions,  I,  36-38),  but  the  knowledge 
of  the  language  current  in  his  day  made  a  usable  copy  impossible. 
As  the  signs  face  the  end  instead  of  the  beginning  as  usual,  Sharpe 
numbered  the  vertical  lines  backward,  making  the  last  line  first. 
Mr.  Bryant  and  Mr.  Read  then  published  a  much  better  copy  in 
the  Proceedings  of  the  Society  of  Biblical  Archceology,  March,  1901, 
pp.  160  ff.  They  still  numbered  the  lines  backward,  however,  and 
so  translated  the  document.  In  working  through  the  inscriptions 
of  the  British  Museum  for  the  Berlin  Egyptian  Dictionary  it  had 
soon  become  evident  to  me  that  the  lines  of  this  inscription  were  to 
be  numbered  in  the  other  direction.  I  then  published  a  fac-simile 
copy  of  the  stone  in  the  Zeitschrift  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  39,  pp.  39  ff. 
I  stated  at  the  time:  "The  signs  are  very  faint,  and  in  badly  worn 
places  reading  is  excessively  difficult.  ...  I  have  no  doubt  that 


THE  ORIGINS  47 

conceived  in  his  "heart,"  then  assumed  objective  reality 
by  the  utterance  of  his  "tongue."  The  utterance  of  the 
thought  in  the  form  of  a  divine  fiat  brought  forth  the 
world.  We  are  reminded  of  the  words  in  Genesis,  as  the 
Creator  spoke,  "And  God  said."  Is  there  not  here  the 
primeval  germ  of  the  later  Alexandrian  doctrine  of  the 
"Logos"? 

We  should  not  fail  to  understand  in  this  earliest  phil- 
osophico-religious  system,  that  the  world  which  Ptah 
brought  forth  was  merely  the  Egyptian  Nile  valley.  As 
we  shall  discover  in  our  further  progress,  the  world-idea 
was  not  yet  born.  This  Memphite  Ptah  was  far  from 
being  a  world-god.  The  world,  in  so  far  as  it  was  possible 
for  the  men  of  the  ancient  Orient  to  know  it,  was  still  un- 
discovered by  the  Memphite  theologians  or  any  other 
thinkers  of  that  distant  age,  and  the  impression  which  the 
world-idea  was  to  make  on  religion  was  still  over  a  thou- 
sand years  in  the  future  when  this  venerable  papyrus  of 

with  a  better  light  than  it  is  possible  to  get  in  the  museum  gallery, 
more  could  in  places  be  gotten  out."  At  the  same  time  I  ventured 
to  publish  a  preliminary  "rapid  sketch"  of  the  content  which  was  un- 
doubtedly premature  and  which  dated  the  early  Egpytian  original 
papyrus  of  which  our  stone  is  a  copy  at  least  as  early  as  the  Eigh- 
teenth Dynasty,  adding  that  "some  points  in  orthography  would 
indicate  a  much  earlier  date. "  Professor  Erman  has  now  published  a 
penetrating  critical  analysis  of  the  document  (Ein  Denkmal  mem- 
phitischer  Theologie,  Sitzungsber.  der  Kgl.  Preuss.  Akad.,  1911,  XLIII, 
pp.  916-950)  which  places  it  on  the  basis  of  orthography  in  the  Pyra- 
mid Age,  to  which  I  had  not  the  courage  to  assign  it  on  the  same 
evidence.  With  a  better  knowledge  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  and  Old 
Kingdom  orthography  than  I  had  twelve  years  ago,  I  wholly  agree 
with  Erman's  date  for  the  document,  surprising  as  it  is  to  find  such 
a  treatise  in  the  Pyramid  Age.  From  Lepsius's  squeeze  of  the  stone, 
Erman  has  also  secured  a  number  of  valuable  new  readings,  while 
the  summary  of  the  document  given  above  is  largely  indebted  to  his 
analysis.  The  discussion  in  my  History  of  Egypt,  pp.  356-8,  as  far 
as  it  employs  this  document,  should  be  eliminated  from  the  Empire. 


48    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  Pyramid  Age  was  written.  The  forces  of  life  which 
were  first  to  react  upon  religion  were  those  which  spent 
themselves  within  the  narrow  borders  of  Egypt,  and  es- 
pecially those  of  moral  admonition  which  dominate  the 
inner  world  and  which  had  already  led  the  men  of  this 
distant  age  to  discern  for  the  first  time  in  human  history 
that  God  "gave  life  to  the  peaceful  and  death  to  the 
guilty." 


LECTURE  II 

LIFE   AFTER   DEATH — THE    SOJOURN    IN   THE    TOMB- 
DEATH    MAKES    ITS    IMPRESSION    ON    RELIGION 

Among  no  people  ancient  or  modern  has  the  idea  of  a 
life  beyond  the  grave  held  so  prominent  a  place  as  among 
the  ancient  Egyptians.  This  insistent  belief  in  a  hereafter 
may  perhaps  have  been,  and  experience  in  the  land  of 
Egypt  has  led  me  to  believe  it  was,  greatly  favored  and 
influenced  by  the  fact  that  the  conditions  of  soil  and  cli- 
mate resulted  in  such  a  remarkable  preservation  of  the 
human  body  as  may  be  found  under  natural  conditions 
nowhere  else  in  the  world.  In  going  up  to  the  daily  task 
on  some  neighboring  temple  in  Nubia,  I  was  not  infre- 
quently obliged  to  pass  through  the  corner  of  a  cemetery, 
where  the  feet  of  a  dead  man,  buried  in  a  shallow  grave, 
were  now  uncovered  and  extended  directly  across  my  path. 
They  were  precisely  like  the  rough  and  calloused  feet  of 
the  workmen  in  our  excavations.  How  old  the  grave  was 
I  do  not  know,  but  any  one  familiar  with  the  cemeteries  of 
Egypt,  ancient  and  modern,  has  found  numerous  bodies  or 
portions  of  bodies  indefinitely  old  which  seemed  about  as 
well  preserved  as  those  of  the  living.  This  must  have  been 
a  frequent  experience  of  the  ancient  Egyptian,1  and  like 
Hamlet  with  the  skull  of  Yorick  in  his  hands,  he  must  often 
have  pondered  deeply  as  he  contemplated  these  silent 
witnesses.  The  surprisingly  perfect  state  of  preservation 
in  which  he  found  his  ancestors  whenever  the  digging  of  a 
new  grave  disclosed  them,  must  have  greatly  stimulated 

1  See  also  Prof.  G.  Elliot  Smith,  The  History  of  Mummification 
in  Egypt,  Proceedings  of  the  Royal  Philosophical  Society  of  Glas- 
gow, 1910. 

49 


50    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

his  belief  in  their  continued  existence,  and  often  aroused 
his  imagination  to  more  detailed  pictures  of  the  realm  and 
the  life  of  the  mysterious  departed.  The  earliest  and  sim- 
plest of  these  beliefs  began  at  an  age  so  remote  that  they 
have  left  no  trace  in  surviving  remains.  The  cemeteries 
of  the  prehistoric  communities  along  the  Nile,  discovered 
and  excavated  since  1894,  disclose  a  belief  in  the  future 
life  which  was  already  in  an  advanced  stage.  Thousands 
of  graves,  the  oldest  of  which  cannot  be  dated  much  later 
than  the  fifth  millennium  B.  C,  were  dug  by  these  primi- 
tive people  in  the  desert  gravels  along  the  margin  of  the 
alluvium.  In  the  bottom  of  the  pit,  which  is  but  a  few 
feet  in  depth,  lies  the  body  with  the  feet  drawn  up  toward 
the  chin  and  surrounded  by  a  meagre  equipment  of  pottery, 
flint  implements,  stone  weapons,  and  utensils,  and  rude 
personal  ornaments,  all  of  which  were  of  course  intended 
to  furnish  the  departed  for  his  future  life. 

From  the  archaic  beliefs  represented  in  such  burials  as 
these  it  is  a  matter  of  fifteen  hundred  years  to  the  appear- 
ance of  the  earliest  written  documents  surviving  to  us — 
documents  from  which  we  may  draw  fuller  knowledge  of 
the  more  developed  faith  of  a  people  rapidly  rising  toward 
a  high  material  civilization  and  a  unified  governmental 
organization,  the  first  great  state  of  antiquity.  Much  took 
place  in  the  thought  of  this  remote  people  during  that 
millennium  and  a  half,  but  for  another  half  millennium 
after  the  beginning  of  written  documents  we  are  still  un- 
able to  discern  the  drift  of  the  development.  For  two 
thousand  years,  therefore,  after  the  stage  of  belief  repre- 
sented by  the  earliest  burials  just  mentioned,  that  develop- 
ment went  on,  though  it  is  now  a  lost  chapter  in  human 
thought  which  we  shall  never  recover. 

When  we  take  up  the  course  of  the  development  about 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  51 

3000  B.  C,  we  have  before  us  the  complicated  results  of 
a  commingling  of  originally  distinct  beliefs  which  have 
long  since  interpenetrated  each  other  and  have  for  many 
centuries  circulated  thus  a  tangled  mass  of  threads  which 
it  is  now  very  difficult  or  impossible  to  disentangle. 

Certain  fundamental  distinctions  can  be  made,  however. 
The  early  belief  that  the  dead  lived  in  or  at  the  tomb, 
which  must  therefore  be  equipped  to  furnish  his  necessities 
in  the  hereafter,  was  one  from  which  the  Egyptian  has 
never  escaped  entirely,  not  even  at  the  present  day.  As 
hostile  creatures  infesting  the  cemeteries,  the  dead  were 
dreaded,  and  protection  from  their  malice  was  necessary. 
Even  the  pyramid  must  be  protected  from  the  malignant 
dead  prowling  about  the  necropolis,  and  in  later  times  a 
man  might  be  afflicted  even  in  his  house  by  a  deceased 
member  of  his  family  wandering  in  from  the  cemetery. 
His  mortuary  practices  therefore  constantly  gave  expres- 
sion to  his  involuntary  conviction  that  the  departed  con- 
tinued to  inhabit  the  tomb  long  after  the  appearance  of 
highly  developed  views  regarding  a  blessed  hereafter  else- 
where in  some  distant  region.  We  who  continue  to  place 
flowers  on  the  graves  of  our  dead,  though  we  may  at  the 
same  time  cherish  beliefs  in  some  remote  paradise  of  the 
departed,  should  certainly  find  nothing  to  wonder  at  in 
the  conflicting  beliefs  and  practices  of  the  ancient  Nile- 
dweller  five  thousand  years  ago.  Side  by  side  the  two  be- 
liefs subsisted,  that  the  dead  continued  to  dwell  in  or  near 
the  tomb,  and  at  the  same  time  that  he  departed  else- 
where to  a  distant  and  blessed  realm. 

In  taking  up  the  first  of  these  two  beliefs,  the  sojourn  in 
the  tomb,  it  will  be  necessary  to  understand  the  Egyptian 
notion  of  a  person,  and  of  those  elements  of  the  human  per- 
sonality which  might  survive  death.     These  views  are  of 


52     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

course  not  the  studied  product  of  a  highly  trained  and  long- 
developed  self-consciousness.  On  the  contrary,  we  have  in 
them  the  involuntary  and  unconscious  impressions  of  an 
early  people,  in  the  study  of  which  it  is  apparent  that  we 
are  confronted  by  the  earliest  chapter  in  folk-psychology 
which  has  anywhere  descended  to  us  from  the  past. 

On  the  walls  of  the  temple  of  Luxor,  where  the  birth  of 
Amenhotep  III  was  depicted  in  sculptured  scenes  late  in 
the  fifteenth  century  before  Christ,  we  find  the  little 
prince  brought  in  on  the  arm  of  the  Nile-god,  accompanied 
apparently  by  another  child.  This  second  figure,  iden- 
tical in  external  appearance  with  that  of  the  prince,  is  a 
being  called  by  the  Egyptians  the  "ka";  it  was  born  with 
the  prince,  being  communicated  to  him  by  the  god.1  This 
curious  comrade  of  an  individual  was  corporeal 2  and  the 
fortunes  of  the  two  were  ever  afterward  closely  associated; 
but  the  ka  was  not  an  element  of  the  personality,  as  is  so 
often  stated.  It  seems  to  me  indeed  from  a  study  of  the 
Pyramid  Texts,  that  the  nature  of  the  ka  has  been  funda- 
mentally misunderstood.  He  was  a  kind  of  superior 
genius  intended  to  guide  the  fortunes  of  the  individual  in 
the  hereafter,  or  it  was  in  the  world  of  the  hereafter  that 
he  chiefly  if  not  exclusively  had  his  abode,  and  there  he 
awaited  the  coming  of  his  earthly  companion.  In  the  old- 
est inscriptions  the  death  of  a  man  may  be  stated  by  say- 
ing that "  he  goes  to  his  ka";3  when  Osiris  dies  he  "  goes  to 
his  ka."  4  Hence  the  dead  are  referred  to  as  those  "who 
have  gone  to  their  kas."  5    Moreover,  the  ka  was  really 

1  On  the  creation  of  the  kas  in  the  beginning  by  the  god  see  Brit. 
Mus.  797,  infra,  p.  45. 

2  Pyr.  §  372.  3  BAR,  I,  187,  253. 

4  Pyr.  §§  826,  832,  836;  cf.  also  "he  goes  with  his  ka,"  Pyr.  §  17. 
6  Petrie,  Deshasheh,  7;   Lepsius,  Denkmaeler,  Text  I,  19;   Pyr. 
§829. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  53 

separated  from  its  protege  by  more  than  the  mere  distance 
to  the  cemetery,  for  in  one  passage  the  deceased  "  goes  to 
his  ka,  to  the  sky."  *  Similarly  the  sojourn  in  the  here- 
after is  described  as  an  association  with  the  ka,2  and  one 
of  the  powers  of  the  blessed  dead  was  to  have  dominion 
over  the  other  kas  there.3  In  their  relations  with  each 
other  the  ka  was  distinctly  superior  to  his  mundane  com- 
panion. In  the  oldest  texts  the  sign  for  the  ka,  the  up- 
lifted arms,  are  frequently  borne  upon  the  standard 
which  bears  the  signs  for  the  gods.  "Call  upon  thy  ka, 
like  Osiris,  that  he  may  protect  thee  from  all  anger  of  the 
dead,"  4  says  one  to  the  deceased;  and  to  be  the  ka  of  a 
person  is  to  have  entire  control  over  him.  Thus  in  ad- 
dressing Osiris  it  is  said  of  Set,  "He  (Horus)  has  smitten 
Set  for  thee,  bound;  thou  art  his  (Set's)  ka."  5  In  the 
hereafter,  at  least,  a  person  is  under  the  dominion  of  his 
own  ka.  The  ka  assists  the  deceased  by  speaking  to  the 
great  god  on  his  behalf,  and  after  this  intercession,  by  in- 
troducing the  dead  man  to  the  god  (Re).6  He  forages  for 
the  deceased  and  brings  him  food  that  they  both  may  eat 
together,7  and  like  two  guests  they  sit  together  at  the 
same  table.8  But  the  ka  is  ever  the  protecting  genius. 
The  dead  king  Pepi  "lives  with  his  ka;  he  (the  ka)  ex- 
pels the  evil  that  is  before  Pepi,  he  removes  the  evil  that 
is  behind  Pepi,  like  the  boomerangs  of  the  lord  of  Letopolis, 
which  remove  the  evil  that  is  before  him  and  expel  the 
evil  that  is  behind  him."  9  Notwithstanding  their  inti- 
mate association,  there  was  danger  that  the  ka  might  fail 

iPyr.  §1431. 

2  "How  beautiful  it  is  with  thy  ka  (that  is,  in  the  company  of  thy 
ka  =  in  the  hereafter)  forever,"  Pyr.  §  2028. 

3  Pyr.  §  267  and  §  311.  4  Pyr.  §  63. 

6  Pyr.  §  587.  See  also  §  1609  and  §  1623.       6  Pyr.  Ut.  440. 

7  Pyr.  §  564.         8  Pyr.  §  1357.         9  Pyr.  §  908. 


54    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

to  recognize  his  protege,  and  the  departed  therefore  re- 
ceived a  garment  peculiar  to  him,  by  means  of  which  the 
ka  may  not  mistake  him  for  an  enemy  whom  he  might 
slay.1  So  strong  was  the  ka,  and  so  close  was  his  union 
with  his  protege,  that  to  have  control  over  a  god  or  a  man 
it  was  necessary  to  gain  the  power  over  his  ka  also,2  and 
complete  justification  of  the  deceased  was  only  certain 
when  his  ka  also  was  justified.3  Thus  united,  the  deceased 
and  his  protecting  genius  lived  a  common  life  in  the  here- 
after, and  they  said  to  the  dead :  "  How  beautiful  it  is  in 
the  company  of  thy  ka!"  4  The  mortuary  priest  whose 
duty  it  was  to  supply  the  needs  of  the  deceased  in  the 
hereafter  was  for  this  reason  called  "servant  of  the  ka," 
and  whatever  he  furnished  the  ka  was  shared  by  him  with 
his  protege,  as  we  have  seen  him  foraging  for  his  charge, 
and  securing  for  him  provisions  which  they  ate  together. 
Eventually,  that  is  after  a  long  development,  we  find 
the  tombs  of  about  2000  B.  C.  regularly  containing 
prayers  for  material  blessings  in  the  hereafter  ending 
with  the  words:  "for  the  ka  of  X"  (the  name  of  the 
deceased). 

While  the  relation  of  the  ka  to  the  dead  is  thus  fairly 
clear,  it  is  not  so  evident  in  the  case  of  the  living.  His 
protecting  power  evidently  had  begun  at  the  birth  of  the 
individual,  though  he  was  most  useful  to  his  protege  after 
earthly  life  was  over.  We  find  the  ka  as  the  protecting 
genius  of  a  mortuary  temple  dwelling  on  earth,  but  it  is 
certainly  significant  that  it  is  a  mortuary  building  which 
he  protects.  Moreover  the  earliest  example  of  such  a 
local  genius  is  Osiris,  a  mortuary  god,  who  is  said  to  become 
the  ka  of  a  pyramid  and  its  temple,  that  they  may  enjoy 

iPyr.  Ut.  591.  2  Pyr.  §776. 

3  Pyr.  §  929.  4  Pyr.  §  2028. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  55 

his  protection.1  As  we  stated  above,  however,  the  ka  was 
not  an  element  of  the  personality,  and  we  are  not  called 
upon  to  explain  him  physically  or  psychologically  as  such. 
He  is  roughly  parallel  with  the  later  notion  of  the  guardian 
angel  as  found  among  other  peoples,  and  he  is  of  course 
far  the  earliest  known  example  of  such  a  being.  It  is  of 
importance  to  note  that  in  all  probability  the  ka  was  orig- 
inally the  exclusive  possession  of  kings,  each  of  whom  thus 
lived  under  the  protection  of  his  individual  guardian 
genius,  and  that  by  a  process  of  slow  development  the 
privilege  of  possessing  a  ka  became  universal  among  all 
the  people. 2 

The  actual  personality  of  the  individual  in  life  consisted, 
according  to  the  Egyptian  notion,  in  the  visible  body,  and 
the  invisible  intelligence,  the  seat  of  the  last  being  con- 
sidered the  "heart"  or  the  "belly,"3  which  indeed  fur- 
nished the  chief  designations  for  the  intelligence.  Then 
the  vital  principle  which,  as  so  frequently  among  other 
peoples,  was  identified  with  the  breath  which  animated 
the  body,  was  not  clearly  distinguished  from  the  intelli- 
gence.   The  two  together  were  pictured  in  one  symbol,  a 

1  Pyr.  Texts.  A  later  example  is  found  in  the  temple  of  Seti  I,  latter 
half  of  the  fourteenth  century  B.  C,  in  a  relief  where  the  ka  is  de- 
picted as  a  woman,  with  the  ka  sign  of  uplifted  arms  on  her  head, 
embracing  the  name  of  Seti's  Gurna  temple.  Champollion,  Monu- 
ments, pi.  151,  Nos.  2  and  3. 

2 1  owe  this  last  remark  to  Steindorff,  who  has  recently  published 
a  reconsideration  of  the  ka  (Zeitschriftfilr  aegypt.  Sprache,  48,151  ff), 
disproving  the  old  notion  that  the  mortuary  statues  in  the  tombs, 
especially  of  the  Old  Kingdom,  are  statues  of  the  ka.  He  is  un- 
doubtedly right.  After  the  collection  of  the  above  data  it  was  grati- 
fying to  receive  the  essay  of  Steindorff  and  to  find  that  he  had 
arrived  at  similar  conclusions  regarding  the  nature  and  function 
of  the  ka,  though  in  making  the  ka  so  largely  mortuary  in  function  I 
differ  with  him. 

1  3  See  above,  pp.  44-45;  and  my  essay,  Zeitsch.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache, 
39,  pp.  39  ff. 


56    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

human-headed  bird  with  human  arms,  which  we  find  in 
the  tomb  and  coffin  scenes  depicted  hovering  over  the 
mummy  and  extending  to  its  nostrils  in  one  hand  the 
figure  of  a  swelling  sail,  the  hieroglyph  for  wind  or  breath, 
and  in  the  other  the  so-called  crux  ansata,  or  symbol  of 
life.  This  curious  little  bird-man  was  called  by  the  Egyp- 
tians the  "ba."  The  fact  has  been  strangely  overlooked 
that  originally  the  ba  came  into  existence  really  for  the 
first  time  at  the  death  of  the  individual.  All  sorts  of  de- 
vices and  ceremonies  were  resorted  to  that  the  deceased 
might  at  death  become  a  ba,  or  as  the  Pyramid  Texts,  ad- 
dressing the  dead  king,  say,  "that  thou  mayest  become 
a  ba  among  the  gods,  thou  living  as  (or  'in')  thy  ba."  l 
There  was  a  denominative  verb  "ba,"  meaning  "to  be- 
come a  ba."  Ba  has  commonly  been  translated  as  "  soul," 
and  the  translation  does  indeed  roughly  correspond  to  the 
Egyptian  idea.  It  is  necessary  to  remember,  however,  in 
dealing  with  such  terms  as  these  among  so  early  a  people, 
that  they  had  no  clearly  defined  notion  of  the  exact  nature 
of  such  an  element  of  personality.  It  is  evident  that  the 
Egyptian  never  wholly  dissociated  a  person  from  the 
body  as  an  instrument  or  vehicle  of  sensation,  and  they 
resorted  to  elaborate  devices  to  restore  to  the  body  its 
various  channels  of  sensibility,  after  the  ba,  which  com- 
prehended these  very  things,  had  detached  itself  from  the 
body.  He  thought  of  his  departed  friend  as  existing  in 
the  body,  or  at  least  as  being  in  outward  appearance  still 
possessed  of  a  body,  as  we  do,  if  we  attempt  to  picture  our 
departed  friend  at  all.  Hence,  when  depicted  in  mortuary 
paintings,  the  departed  of  course  appears  as  he  did  in  life.2 

1Pyr.  §  1943  b. 

2  There  were  other  designations  of  the  dead,  but  there  were  not 
additional  elements  of  his  personality  besides  the  ba  and  the  body, 
as  we  find  it  so  commonly  stated  in  the  current  discussions  of  this 
subject.     Thus  the  dead  were  thought  of  as  "glorious"  (y'fcw), 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  57 

In  harmony  with  these  conceptions  was  the  desire  of 
the  surviving  relatives  to  insure  physical  restoration  to 
the  dead.  Gathered  with  the  relatives  and  friends  of  the 
deceased,  on  the  flat  roof  of  the  massive  masonry  tomb, 
the  mortuary  priest  stood  over  the  silent  body  and  ad- 
dressed the  departed:  "Thy  bones  perish  not,  thy  flesh 
sickens  not,  thy  members  are  not  distant  from  thee."  l 
Or  he  turns  to  the  flesh  of  the  dead  itself  and  says:  "O 
flesh  of  this  king  Teti,  decay  not,  perish  not;  let  not  thy 
odor  be  evil. "  2  He  utters  a  whole  series  of  strophes,  each 
concluding  with  the  refrain:  "King  Pepi  decays  not,  he 
rots  not,  he  is  not  bewitched  by  your  wrath,  ye  gods."  3 

However  effective  these  injunctions  may  have  been,  they 
were  not  considered  sufficient.  The  motionless  body  must 
be  resuscitated  and  restored  to  the  use  of  its  members  and 
senses.  This  resurrection  might  be  the  act  of  a  favoring 
god  or  goddess,  as  when  accomplished  by  Isis  or  Horus,  or 
the  priest  addresses  the  dead  and  assures  him  that  the  Sky- 

and  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  are  frequently  spoken  of  as  the  "  glori- 
ous "  just  as  we  say  the  "  blessed."  The  fact  that  they  later  spoke 
of  "  his  y'hw,"  that  is  "  his  glorious  one,"  does  not  mean  that  the 
y'hw  was  another  element  in  the  personality.  This  is  shown  in  the 
reference  to  Osiris  when  he  died,  as  "  going  to  his  y'hw  "  (Pyr.  §  472), 
which  is  clearly  a  substitution  of  y'lrw  for  ka,  in  the  common  phrase 
for  dying,  namely,  "  going  to  his  ka."  The  use  of  y'&w  with  the 
pronoun,  namely,  "  his  y'few,"  is  rare  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  but  came 
into  more  common  use  in  the  Middle  Kingdom,  as  in  the  Misan- 
thrope, who  addresses  his  soul  as  his  y'fcw.  Similarly  the  "  shadow  " 
is  only  another  symbol,  but  not  another  element  of  the  personality. 
There  is  no  ground  for  the  complicated  conception  of  a  person  in 
ancient  Egypt  as  consisting,  besides  the  body  of  a  ka,  a  ba  (soul),  a 
y'hw  (spirit),  a  shadow,  etc.  Besides  the  body  and  the  ba  (soul), 
there  was  only  the  ka,  the  protecting  genius,  which  was  not  an  element 
of  the  personality  as  we  have  said. 

1  Pyr.  §  725.  2  Pyr.  §  722. 

3  Pyr.  Ut.  576;  see  also  preservation  from  decay  by  Isis  and 
Nephthys,  Pyr.  §  1255. 


58    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

goddess  will  raise  him  up :  "  She  sets  on  again  for  thee  thy 
head,  she  gathers  for  thee  thy  bones,  she  unites  for  thee 
thy  members,  she  brings  for  thee  thy  heart  into  thy  body."1 
Sometimes  the  priest  assumes  that  the  dead  does  not  even 
enter  the  earth  at  interment  and  assures  the  mourning 
relatives :  "  His  abomination  is  the  earth,  king  Unis  enters 
not  Geb  (the  Earth-god).  When  he  perishes,  sleeping  in 
his  house  on  earth,  his  bones  are  restored,  his  injuries  are 
removed."  2  But  if  the  inexorable  fact  be  accepted  that 
the  body  now  lies  in  the  tomb,  the  priest  undauntedly 
calls  upon  the  dead:  "Arise,  dwellers  in  your  tombs. 
Loose  your  rbandages,1  throw  off  the  sand  from  thy  (sic!) 
face.  Lift  thee  up  from  upon  thy  left  side,  support  thyself 
on  thy  right  side.  Raise  thy  face  that  thou  mayest  look  at 
this  which  I  have  done  for  thee.  I  am  thy  son,  I  am  thy 
heir."  3  He  assures  the  dead:  "Thy  bones  are  gathered 
together  for  thee,  thy  members  are  prepared  for  thee,  thy 
impurities1  are  thrown  off  for  thee,  thy  bandages  are  loosed 
for  thee.  The  tomb  is  opened  for  thee,  the  coffin  is  bro- 
ken open  for  thee. "  4  And  yet  the  insistent  fact  of  death 
so  inexorably  proclaimed  by  the  unopened  tomb  led  the 
priest  to  call  upon  the  dead  to  waken  and  arise  before  each 
ceremony  which  he  performed.  As  he  brings  food  and 
drink  we  find  him  calling:  "Raise  thee  up,  king  Pepi, 
receive  to  thee  thy  water.  Gather  to  thee  thy  bones, 
stand  thou  up  upon  thy  two  feet,  being  a  glorious  one  be- 
fore the  glorious.  Raise  thee  up  for  this  thy  bread  which 
cannot  dry  up,  and  thy  beer  which  cannot  become  stale."  5 
But  even  when  so  raised  the  dead  was  not  in  possession 

1  Pyr.  §  835.  2  Pyr.  §  308. 

3  Pyr.  §§  1878-9.  4  Pyr.  §  2008-9. 

5  Pyr.  §§  858-9;  see  also  the  resuscitation  before  purification,  Pyr. 
§§  837,  841,  and  not  uncommonly. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  59 

of  his  senses  and  faculties,  nor  the  power  to  control  and 
use  his  body  and  limbs.  His  mourning  friends  could  not 
abandon  him  to  the  uncertain  future  without  aiding  him 
to  recover  all  his  powers.  "King  Teti's  mouth  is  opened 
for  him,  king  Teti's  nose  is  opened  for  him,  king  Teti's  ears 
are  opened  for  him, "  l  says  the  priest,  and  elaborate  cere- 
monies were  performed  to  accomplish  this  restoration  of 
the  senses  and  the  faculty  of  speech.2 

All  this  was  of  no  avail,  however,  unless  the  unconscious 
body  received  again  the  seat  of  consciousness  and  feeling, 
which  in  this  restoration  of  the  mental  powers  was  reg- 
ularly the  heart.  "The  heart  of  king  Teti  is  not  taken 
away,"  3  says  the  ritual;  or  if  it  has  gone  the  Sky-goddess 
"brings  for  thee  thy  heart  into  thy  body  (again)."4 

Several  devices  were  necessary  to  make  of  this  unre- 
sponsive mummy  a  living  person,  capable  of  carrying  on 
the  life  hereafter.  He  has  not  become  a  ba,  or  a  soul 
merely  by  dying,  as  we  stated  in  referring  to  the  nature  of 
the  ba.  It  was  necessary  to  aid  him  to  become  a  soul. 
Osiris  when  lying  dead  had  become  a  soul  by  receiving 
from  his  son  Horus  the  latter's  eye,  wrenched  from  the 
socket  in  his  conflict  with  Set.  Horus,  recovering  his  eye, 
gave  it  to  his  father,  and  on  receiving  it  Osiris  at  once  be- 
came a  soul.  From  that  time  any  offering  to  the  dead 
might  be,  and  commonly  was,  called  the  "eye  of  Horus," 
and  might  thus  produce  the  same  effect  as  on  Osiris. 

1  Pyr.  §  712. 

2  See  also  Pyr.  §§  9, 10,  and  for  the  opening  of  the  mouth,  especially 
Ut.  20,  21,  22,  34,  38;  for  the  opening  of  the  eyes,  Ut.  638,  639;  for 
the  opening  of  eyes,  ears,  nose,  and  mouth,  see  Pyr.  §  1673. 

3  Pyr.  §  748. 

4  Pyr.  §  828=  §835;  the  heart  may  also  be  restored  to  the  body  by 
Horus,  Pyr.  Ut.  595,  or  by  Nephthys,  Ut.  628. 


60    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Raise  thee  up,"  says  the  priest,  "for  this  thy  bread, 
which  cannot  dry  up,  and  thy  beer  which  cannot  become 
stale,  by  ivhich  thou  shalt  become  a  soul."1  The  food 
which  the  priest  offered  possessed  the  mysterious  power  of 
effecting  the  transformation  of  the  dead  man  into  a  soul 
as  the  "eye  of  Horus"  had  once  transformed  Osiris.  And 
it  did  more  than  this,  for  the  priest  adds,  "  by  which  thou 
shalt  become  one  prepared. "  2  To  be  " one  prepared"  or, 
as  the  variants  have  it,  "one  equipped,"  is  explained  in  the 
tombs  of  the  Old  Kingdom,  where  we  find  the  owner 
boasting,  "  I  am  an  excellent,  equipped  spirit,  I  know  every 
secret  charm  of  the  court."3  This  man,  a  provincial 
noble,  is  proud  of  the  fact  that  he  was  granted  the  great 
boon  of  acquaintance  with  the  magical  mortuary  equip- 
ment used  for  the  king  at  the  court,  an  equipment  intended 
to  render  the  dead  invulnerable  and  irresistible  in  the  here- 
after. We  are  able  then  to  understand  another  noble  of  the 
same  period  when  he  says:  "I  am  an  excellent  equipped 
spirit  (literally,  'glorious  one')  whose  mouth  knows,"4 
meaning  his  mouth  is  familiar  with  the  mortuary  magical 
equipment,  which  he  is  able  to  repeat  whenever  needed. 
Similarly  one  of  the  designations  of  the  departed  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts  is  "  the  glorious  by  reason  of  their  equipped 
mouths."5  Finally  this  strangely  potent  bread  and  beer 
which  the  priest  offers  the  dead,  not  only  makes  him  a 
"soul"  and  makes  him  "prepared,"  but  it  also  gives  him 
"power"  or  makes  him  a  "mighty  one."  6  The  "power" 
conferred  was  in  the  first  place  intended  to  control  the  body 
of  the  dead  and  guide  its  actions,  and  without  this  power  in- 
tended for  this  specific  purpose  it  is  evident  the  Egyptian 
believed  the  dead  to  be  helpless.7    This  "power"  was  also 

1  Pyr.  §  859.         2  Ibid.  «  BAR,  I,  378.         *  BAR,  I,  329. 

5  Pyr.  Ut.  473.  6  Pyr.  §  859.  7  Pyr.  §  2096. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  61 

intended  to  give  the  dead  ability  to  confront  successfully 
the  uncanny  adversaries  who  awaited  him  in  the  beyond. 
It  was  so  characteristic  of  the  dead,  that  they  might  be 
spoken  of  as  the  " mighty "  as  we  say  the  "blessed,''  and 
it  was  so  tangible  a  part  of  the  equipment  of  the  departed 
that  it  underwent  purification  together  with  him.1  This 
"power"  finally  gave  the  deceased  also  "power"  over  all 
other  powers  within  him,  and  the  priest  says  to  him, 
"Thou  hast  power  over  the  powers  that  are  in  thee."  2 

From  these  facts  it  is  evident  that  the  Egyptians  had 
developed  a  rude  psychology  of  the  dead,  in  accordance 
with  which  they  endeavored  to  reconstitute  the  individual 
by  processes  external  to  him,  under  the  control  of  the  sur- 
vivors, especially  the  mortuary  priest  who  possessed  the 
indispensable  ceremonies  for  accomplishing  this  end.  We 
may  summarize  it  all  in  the  statement  that  after  the  re- 
suscitation of  the  body,  there  was  a  mental  restoration  or 
a  reconstitution  of  the  faculties  one  by  one,  attained  es- 
pecially by  the  process  of  making  the  deceased  a  "soul" 
(ba),  in  which  capacity  he  again  existed  as  a  person,  pos- 
sessing all  the  powers  that  would  enable  him  to  subsist 
and  survive  in  the  life  hereafter.  It  is  therefore  not  cor- 
rect to  attribute  to  the  Egyptians  a  belief  in  the  immortality 
of  the  soul  strictly  interpreted  as  imperishability  or  to 
speak  of  his  "ideas  of  immortality."  3 

1  Pyr.  §  837.  2  Pyr.  §  2011. 

3  The  above  does  not  exhaust  the  catalogue  of  qualities  which  were 
thought  valuable  to  the  dead  and  were  communicated  to  him  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts.  Thus  they  say  of  the  deceased :  "  His  fearfulness  (b'w) 
is  on  his  head,  his  terror  is  at  his  side,  his  magical  charms  are  before 
him"  (Pyr.  §477).  For  "fearfulness"  a  variant  text  has  "lion's- 
head"  (Pyr.  §  940),  which  was  a  mask  placed  over  the  head  of  the  de- 
ceased. With  this  should  be  compared  the  equipment  of  the  deceased 
with  a  jackal's  face,  not  infrequently  occurring  (e.  g.,  Pyr.  §  2098), 
which  of  course  is  a  survival  of  the  influence  of  the  ancient  mortuary 


62    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

That  life  now  involved  an  elaborate  material  equipment, 
a  monumental  tomb  with  its  mortuary  furniture.  The 
massive  masonry  tomb,  like  a  truncated  pyramid  with  very 
steep  sides,  was  but  the  rectangular  descendant  of  the 
prehistoric  tumulus,  with  a  retaining  wall  around  it,  once 
of  rough  stones,  now  of  carefully  laid  hewn  stone  masonry, 
which  has  taken  on  some  of  the  incline  of  its  ancient 
ancestor,  the  sand  heap,  or  tumulus,  still  within  it.  In  the 
east  side  of  the  superstructure,  which  was  often  of  impos- 
ing size,  was  a  rectangular  room,  perhaps  best  called  a 
chapel,  where  the  offerings  for  the  dead  might  be  pre- 
sented and  these  ceremonies  on  his  behalf  might  be  per- 
formed. For,  notwithstanding  the  elaborate  reconstitu- 
tion  of  the  dead  as  a  person,  he  was  not  unquestionably 
able  to  maintain  himself  in  the  hereafter  without  assist- 
ance from  his  surviving  relatives.  All  such  mortuary  ar- 
rangements were  chiefly  Osirian,  for  in  the  Solar  faith  the 
Sun-god  did  not  die  among  men,  nor  did  he  leave  a  family 
to  mourn  for  him  and  maintain  mortuary  ceremonies  on 
his  behalf.    To  be  sure,  the  oldest  notion  of  the  relation 

god,  of  the  jackal  head,  Anubis.  Two  other  variant  passages  (§  992 
and  §  1472)  have  "ba"  (soul)  instead  of  "fearf illness"  above.  This 
threefold  equipment  was  that  of  Osiris.  It  is  found  several  times, 
e.  g.,  in  §  1559,  where  the  text  states:  "His  power  is  within  him,  his 
soul  (ba)  is  behind  him,  his  preparation  (or  equipment)  is  upon  him, 
which  Horus  gave  to  Osiris. "  Again  it  is  fourfold,  as  in  Pyr.  §  1730, 
where  the  appropriate  recitation  is  enjoined 

"  that  he  may  be  a  glorious  one  thereby, 
that  he  may  be  a  soul  thereby, 
that  he  may  be  an  honored  one  thereby, 
that  he  may  be  a  powerful  (or  mighty)  one  thereby" 

(Pyr.  §  1730). 
Similarly  the  ceremony  of  offering  ointment  to  the  dead  is  performed, 
and  as  a  result  the  priest  says,  "Thou  art  a  soul  thereby,  thou  art  a 
mighty  one  thereby,  thou  art  an  honored  one  thereby"  (Pyr.  §  2075), 
omitting  the  "equipment"  or  "preparation."  It  is  also  omitted  in 
Pyr.  §  2096  and  §  2098. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  63 

of  Osiris  to  the  dead,  which  is  discernible  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  represents  him  as  hostile  to  them,  but  this  is  an 
archaic  survival  of  which  only  a  trace  remains.1  As  a 
son  of  Geb  the  Earth-god,  it  was  altogether  natural  to 
confide  the  dead  to  his  charge.2 

It  was  the  duty  of  every  son  to  arrange  the  material 
equipment  of  his  father  for  the  life  beyond — a  duty  so 
naturally  and  universally  felt  that  it  involuntarily  passed 
from  the  life  of  the  people  into  the  Osiris  myth  as  the 
duty  of  Horus  toward  his  father  Osiris.  It  was  an  obli- 
gation which  was  sometimes  met  with  faithfulness  in  the 
face  of  difficulty  and  great  danger,  as  when  Sebni  of  Ele- 
phantine received  news  of  the  death  of  his  father,  Mekhu, 
in  the  Sudan,  and  at  once  set  out  with  a  military  escort  to 
penetrate  the  country  of  the  dangerous  southern  tribes 
and  to  rescue  the  body  of  his  father.  The  motive  for  such 
self-sacrifice  was  of  course  the  desire  to  recover  his  father's 
body  that  it  might  be  embalmed  and  preserved,  in  order 
that  the  old  man  might  not  lose  all  prospect  of  life  beyond. 
Hence  it  was  that  when  the  son  neared  the  frontier  on  his 
return,  he  sent  messengers  to  the  court  with  news  of  what 
had  happened,  so  that  as  he  re-entered  Upper  Egypt  he 
was  met  by  a  company  from  the  court,  made  up  of  the 
embalmers,  mortuary  priests,  and  mourners,  bearing 
fragrant  oil,  aromatic  gums,  and  fine  linen,  that  all  the 
ceremonies  of  embalmment,  interment,  and  complete 
equipment  for  the  hereafter  might  be  completed  at  once, 
before  the  body  should  further  perish.3 

The  erection  of  the  tomb  was  an  equally  obvious  duty 
incumbent  upon  sons  and  relatives,  unless  indeed  that 
father  was  so  attached  to  his  own  departed  father  that  he 
desired  to  rest  in  his  father's  tomb,  as  one  noble  of  the 

1  Ut.  534.  2  Ut.  592.  3  BAR,  I,  362-374. 


64    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

twenty-sixth  century  B.  C.  informs  us  was  his  wish.  He 
says:  "Now  I  caused  that  I  should  be  buried  in  the  same 
tomb  with  this  Zau  (his  father's  name)  in  order  that  I 
might  be  with  him  in  the  same  place;  not,  however,  be- 
cause I  was  not  in  a  position  to  make  a  second  tomb ;  but 
I  did  this  in  order  that  I  might  see  this  Zau  every  day,  in 
order  that  I  might  be  with  him  in  the  same  place."  l 
This  pious  son  says  further:  "I  buried  my  father,  the 
count  Zau,  surpassing  the  splendor,  surpassing  the  goodli- 
ness  of  any  requal]  of  his  who  was  in  this  South"  (meaning 
Upper  Egypt).2 

From  the  thirty-fourth  century  on,  as  the  tombs  of 
the  First  Dynasty  at  Abydos  show,  it  had  become  cus- 
tomary for  favorite  officials  and  partisans  of  the  Pharaoh 
to  be  buried  in  the  royal  cemetery,  forming  a  kind  of  mor- 
tuary court  around  the  monarch  whom  they  had  served  in 
life.  Gradually  the  king  became  more  and  more  involved 
in  obligations  to  assist  his  nobles  in  the  erection  of  their 
tombs  and  to  contribute  from  the  royal  treasury  to  the 
splendor  and  completeness  of  their  funerals.  The  favor- 
ite physician  of  the  king  receives  a  requisition  on  the  treas- 
ury and  the  royal  quarries  for  the  labor  and  the  transpor- 
tation necessary  to  procure  him  a  great  and  sumptuous 
false  door  of  massive  limestone  for  his  tomb,  and  he  tells 
us  the  fact  with  great  satisfaction  and  much  circumstance 
in  his  tomb  inscriptions.3  We  see  the  Pharaoh  in  the  royal 
palanquin  on  the  road  which  mounts  from  the  valley  to 
the  desert  plateau,  whither  he  has  ascended  to  inspect  his 
pyramid,  now  slowly  rising  on  the  margin  of  the  desert 
overlooking  the  valley.     Here  he  discovers  the  unfinished 

1  BAR,  I,  383;  other  examples  of  filial  piety  in  the  same  respect, 
BAR,  I,  181-7,   248,  274 

2  BAR,  I,  382.  3  BAR,  I,  237-240. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  65 

tomb  of  Debhen,  one  of  his  favorites,  who  may  have  pre- 
sumed upon  a  moment  of  royal  complaisance  to  call  atten- 
tion to  its  unfinished  condition.  The  king  at  once  details 
fifty  men  to  work  upon  the  tomb  of  his  protege,  and  after- 
ward orders  the  royal  engineers  and  quarrymen  who  are 
at  work  upon  a  temple  in  the  vicinity  to  bring  for  the 
fortunate  Debhen  two  false  doors  of  stone,  the  blocks  for 
the  facade  of  the  tomb,  and  likewise  a  portrait  statue  of 
Debhen  to  be  erected  therein.1  One  of  the  leading  nobles 
who  was  flourishing  at  the  close  of  the  twenty-seventh 
century  B.  C.  tells  us  in  his  autobiography  how  he  was 
similarly  favored:  "Then  I  besought  ...  the  majesty 
of  the  king  that  there  be  brought  for  me  a  limestone  sar- 
cophagus from  Troja  (royal  quarries  near  Cairo,  from 
which  much  stone  for  the  pyramids  of  Gizeh  was  taken). 
The  king  had  the  treasurer  of  the  god  (=  Pharaoh's  treas- 
urer) ferry  over,  together  with  a  troop  of  sailors  under  his 
hand,  in  order  to  bring  for  me  this  sarcophagus  from 
Troja;  and  he  arrived  with  it  in  a  large  ship  belonging 
to  the  court  (that  is,  one  of  the  royal  galleys),  together 
with  its  lid,  the  false  door  .  .  .  (several  other  blocks  the 
words  for  which  are  not  quite  certain  in  meaning),  and 
one  offering-tablet."2 

In  such  cases  as  these,  and  indeed  quite  frequently,  the 
king  was  expected  to  contribute  to  the  embalmment  and 
burial  of  a  favorite  noble.  We  have  already  seen  how  the 
Pharaoh  sent  out  his  body  of  mortuary  officials,  priests,  and 
embalmers  to  meet  Sebni,  returning  from  the  Sudan  with 
his  father's  body.3  Similarly  he  despatched  one  of  his 
commanders  to  rescue  the  body  of  an  unfortunate  noble 
who  with  his  entire  military  escort  had  been  massacred  by 
the  Bedwin  on  the  shores  of  the  Red  Sea,  while  building 

1  BAR,  I,  210-212.  2  BAR,  I,  308.  3  See  above,  p.  61. 


66    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

a  ship  for  the  voyage  to  Punt,  the  Somali  coast,  in 
all  likelihood  the  land  of  Ophir  of  the  Old  Testament. 
Although  the  rescuer  does  not  say  so  in  his  brief  inscrip- 
tion, it  is  evident  that  the  Pharaoh  desired  to  secure  the 
body  of  this  noble  also  in  order  to  prepare  it  properly  for 
the  hereafter.1  Such  solicitude  can  only  have  been  due  to 
the  sovereign's  personal  attachment  to  a  favorite  official. 
This  is  quite  evident  in  the  case  of  Weshptah,  one  of  the 
viziers  of  the  Fifth  Dynasty  about  2700  B.  C.  The  king, 
his  family,  and  the  court  were  one  day  inspecting  a  new 
building  in  course  of  construction  under  Weshptah's 
superintendence,  for,  besides  being  grand  vizier,  he  was 
also  chief  architect.  All  admire  the  work  and  the  king 
turns  to  praise  his  faithful  minister  when  he  notices  that 
Weshptah  does  not  hear  the  words  of  royal  favor.  The 
king's  exclamation  alarms  the  courtiers,  the  stricken  min- 
ister is  quickly  carried  to  the  court,  and  the  priests  and 
chief  physicians  are  hurriedly  summoned.  The  king  has 
a  case  of  medical  rolls  brought  in,  but  all  is  in  vain.  The 
physicians  declare  his  case  hopeless.  The  king  is  smitten 
with  sorrow  and  retires  to  his  chamber,  where  he  prays  to 
Re.  He  then  makes  all  arrangements  for  Weshptah's 
burial,  ordering  an  ebony  coffin  made  and  having  the 
body  anointed  in  his  own  presence.  The  dead  noble's 
eldest  son  was  then  empowered  to  build  the  tomb,  which 
the  king  furnished  and  endowed.2  The  noble  whose  pious 
son  wished  to  rest  in  the  same  tomb  with  him  (p.  64)  en- 
joyed similar  favor  at  the  king's  hands.  His  son  says: 
"  I  requested  as  an  honor  from  the  majesty  of  my  lord,  the 
king  of  Egypt,  Pepi  II,  who  lives  forever,  that  there  be 
levied  a  coffin,  clothing,  and  festival  perfume  for  this  Zau 
(his  dead  father).  His  majesty  caused  that  the  custodian 
i  BAR,  I,  360.  2  BAR,  I,  242-9. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  67 

of  the  royal  domain  should  bring  a  coffin  of  wood,  festival 
perfume,  oil,  clothing,  two  hundred  pieces  of  first-grade 
linen  and  of  fine  southern  linen  .  .  .  taken  from  the 
White  House  (the  royal  treasury)  of  the  court  for  this 
Zau."1 

Interred  thus  in  royal  splendor  and  equipped  with  sump- 
tuous furniture,  the  maintenance  of  the  departed,  in  theory 
at  least,  through  all  time  was  a  responsibility  which  he  dared 
not  intrust  exclusively  to  his  surviving  family  or  eventu- 
ally to  a  posterity  whose  solicitude  on  his  behalf  must  con- 
tinue to  wane  and  finally  disappear  altogether.  The 
noble  therefore  executed  carefully  drawn  wills  and  testa- 
mentary endowments,  the  income  from  which  was  to  be 
devoted  exclusively  to  the  maintenance  of  his  tomb  and 
the  presentation  of  oblations  of  incense,  ointment,  food, 
drink,  and  clothing  in  liberal  quantities  and  at  frequent 
intervals.  The  source  of  this  income  might  be  the  rev- 
enues from  the  noble's  own  lands  or  from  his  offices 
and  the  perquisites  belonging  to  his  rank,  from  all  of  which 
a  portion  might  be  permanently  diverted  for  the  support 
of  his  tomb  and  its  ritual.2 

In  a  number  of  cases  the  legal  instrument  establishing 
these  foundations  has  been  engraved  as  a  measure  of 
safety  on  the  wall  inside  the  tomb-chapel  itself  and  has 
thus  been  preserved  to  us.  At  Siut  Hepzefi  the  count  and 
baron  of  the  province  has  left  us  ten  elaborate  contracts  on 
the  inner  wall  of  his  tomb-chapel,  intended  to  perpetuate 
the  service  which  he  desired  to  have  regularly  celebrated  at 
his  tomb  or  on  his  behalf.3 

The  amount  of  the  endowment  was  sometimes  surpris- 

1  BAR,  I,  382. 

2  BAR,  I,  200-9,  213-222,  226-230,  231,  349,  378,  535-593. 

3  BAR,  I,  535-593.  They  will  be  found  in  substance  infra,  pp. 
259-2G9. 


68    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

ingly  large.  In  the  twenty-ninth  century  B.  C,  the  tomb 
of  prince  Nekure,  son  of  king  Khafre  of  the  Fourth  Dy- 
nasty, was  endowed  from  the  prince's  private  fortune  with 
no  less  than  twelve  towns,  the  income  of  which  went  ex- 
clusively to  the  support  of  his  tomb.  A  palace  steward 
in  Userkaf's  time,  in  the  middle  of  the  twenty-eighth  cen- 
tury B.  C,  appointed  eight  mortuary  priests  for  the  ser- 
vice of  his  tomb,  and  a  baron  of  Upper  Egypt  two  centuries 
and  a  half  later  endowed  his  tomb  with  the  revenues  from 
eleven  villages  and  settlements.  The  income  of  a  mortu- 
ary priest  in  such  a  tomb  was,  in  one  instance,  sufficient 
to  enable  him  to  endow  the  tomb  of  his  daughter  in  the 
same  way.  In  addition  to  such  private  resources,  the 
death  of  a  noble  not  infrequently  resulted  in  further  gen- 
erosity on  the  part  of  the  king,  who  might  either  increase 
the  endowment  which  the  noble  had  already  made  during 
his  life,  or  even  furnish  it  entirely  from  the  royal  revenues.1 
The  privileges  accruing  to  the  dead  from  these  endow- 
ments, while  they  were  intended  to  secure  him  against  all 
apprehension  of  hunger,  thirst,  or  cold  in  the  future  life, 
seem  to  have  consisted  chiefly  in  enabling  him  to  share  in 
the  most  important  feasts  and  celebrations  of  the  year. 
Like  all  Orientals  the  Egyptian  took  great  delight  in  re- 
ligious celebrations,  and  the  good  cheer  which  abounded 
on  such  occasions  he  was  quite  unwilling  to  relinquish 
when  he  departed  this  world.  The  calendar  of  feasts, 
therefore,  was  a  matter  of  the  greatest  importance  to  him, 
and  he  was  willing  to  divert  plentiful  revenues  to  enable 
him  to  celebrate  all  its  important  days  in  the  hereafter  as 
he  had  once  so  bountifully  done  among  his  friends  on 
earth.     He  really  expected,  moreover,  to  celebrate  these 

1  So  with  the  vizier,  Weshptah,  above,  p.  66;  see  also  BAR,  I, 
378,  241,  213-230. 


LIFE  AFTER  DEATH  69 

joyous  occasions  among  his  friends  in  the  temple  just 
as  he  once  had  been  wont  to  do,  and  to  accomplish 
this  he  had  a  statue  of  himself  erected  in  the  temple  court. 
Sometimes  the  king,  as  a  particular  distinction  granted  to 
a  powerful  courtier,  commissioned  the  royal  sculptors  to 
make  such  a  statue  and  station  it  inside  the  temple  door. 
In  his  tomb  likewise  the  grandee  of  the  Pyramid  Age  set 
up  a  sumptuous  stone  portrait  statue  of  himself,  concealed 
in  a  secret  chamber  hidden  in  the  mass  of  the  masonry. 
Such  statues,  too,  the  king  not  infrequently  furnished  to 
the  leading  nobles  of  his  government  and  court.  It  was 
evidently  supposed  that  this  portrait  statue,  the  earliest 
of  which  we  know  anything  in  art,  might  serve  as  a  body 
for  the  disembodied  dead,  who  might  thus  return  to  enjoy 
a  semblance  at  least  of  bodily  presence  in  the  temple,  or 
again  in  the  same  way  return  to  the  tomb-chapel,  where 
he  might  find  other  representations  of  his  body  in  the 
secret  chamber  close  by  the  chapel.1 

We  discern  in  such  usages  the  emergence  of  a  more 
highly  developed  and  more  desirable  hereafter,  which  has 
gradually  supplanted  the  older  and  simpler  views.  The 
common  people  doubtless  still  thought  of  their  dead 
either  as  dwelling  in  the  tomb,  or  at  best  as  inhabiting 
the  gloomy  realm  of  the  west,  the  subterranean  kingdom 
ruled  by  the  old  mortuary  gods  eventually  led  by  Osiris. 
But  for  the  great  of  the  earth,  the  king  and  his  nobles  at 
least,  a  happier  destiny  had  now  dawned.  They  might 
dwell  at  will  with  the  Sun-god  in  his  glorious  celestial 
kingdom.  In  the  royal  tomb  we  can  henceforth  discern 
the  emergence  of  this  Solar  hereafter  (cf.  pp.  140-1). 

1  The  supposition  that  these  statues  were  intended  to  be  those  of 
the  ka  in  particular  is  without  foundation.  Ka  statues  are  nowhere 
mentioned  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  nor  does  the  inscription  regularly 
placed  on  such  a  statue  ever  refer  to  it  as  a  statue  of  the  ka.  Later 
see  also  Steindorff,  Zeitschr.  fiir  aegypt.  Sprache,  48,  152-9. 


LECTURE  III 

THE  REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD — THE  PYRAMID  TEXTS — THE 
ASCENT  TO  THE  SKY 

The  Pharaoh  himself  might  reasonably  expect  that  his 
imposing  tomb  would  long  survive  the  destruction  of  the 
less  enduring  structures  in  which  his  nobles  were  laid,  and 
that  his  endowments,  too,  might  be  made  to  outlast  those 
of  his  less  powerful  contemporaries.  The  pyramid  as  a 
stable  form  in  architecture  has  impressed  itself  upon  all 
time.  Beneath  this  vast  mountain  of  stone,  as  a  result 
of  its  mere  mass  and  indestructibility  alone,  the  Pharaoh 
looked  forward  to  the  permanent  survival  of  his  body, 
and  of  the  personality  with  which  it  was  so  indissolubly 
involved.  Moreover,  the  origin  of  the  monument,  hitherto 
overlooked,  made  it  a  symbol  of  the  highest  sacredness, 
rising  above  the  mortal  remains  of  the  king,  to  greet  the 
Sun,  whose  offspring  the  Pharaoh  was. 

The  pyramid  form  may  be  explained  by  an  examination 
of  the  familiar  obelisk  form.  The  obelisk,  as  is  commonly 
known,  is  a  symbol  sacred  to  the  Sun-god.  So  far  as  I 
am  aware,  however,  little  significance  has  heretofore  been 
attached  to  the  fact  that  the  especially  sacred  portion  of 
the  obelisk  is  the  pyramidal  apex  with  which  it  is  sur- 
mounted. An  obelisk  is  simply  a  pyramid  upon  a  lofty 
base  which  has  indeed  become  the  shaft.  In  the  Old 
Kingdom  Sun-temples  at  Abusir,  this  is  quite  clear,  the 
diameter  of  the  shaft  being  at  the  bottom  quite  one-third 

70 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        71 

of  its  height.  Thus  the  shaft  appears  as  a  high  base, 
upon  which  the  surmounting  pyramid  is  supported. 
This  pyramidal  top  is  the  essential  part  of  the  monument 
and  the  significant  symbol  which  it  bore.  The  Egyptians 
called  it  a  benben  (or  benbenet),  which  we  translate  "pyra- 
midion,"  and  the  shaft  or  high  base  would  be  without 
significance  without  it.  Thus,  when  Sesostris  I  proclaims 
to  posterity  the  survival  of  his  name  in  his  Heliopolis 
monuments,  he  says: 

"  My  beauty  shall  be  remembered  in  his  house, 
My  name  is  the  pyramidion  and  my  name  is  the  lake."  l 

His  meaning  is  that  his  name  shall  survive  on  his  great 
obelisks,  and  in  the  sacred  lake  which  he  excavated.  The 
king  significantly  designates  the  obelisk,  however,  by  the 
name  of  its  pyramidal  summit.  Now  the  long  recognized 
fact  that  the  obelisk  is  sacred  to  the  sun,  carries  with  it 
the  demonstration  that  it  is  the  pyramid  surmounting  the 
obelisk  which  is  sacred  to  the  Sun-god.  Furthermore,  the 
sanctuary  at  Heliopolis  was  early  designated  the  "  Benben- 
house,"  that  is  the  "pyramidion-house."  2  The  symbol, 
then,  by  which  the  sanctuary  of  the  Sun-temple  at  Heli- 
opolis was  designated  was  a  pyramid.  Moreover,  there 
was  in  this  same  Sun-temple  a  pyramidal  object  called  a 
"ben,"  presumably  of  stone  standing  in  the  "Phoenix- 
house";  and  upon  this  pyramidal  object  the  Sun-god  in 
the  form  of  a  Phoenix  had  in  the  beginning  first  appeared. 
This  object  was  already  sacred  as  far  back  as  the  middle 
of  the  third  millennium  B.  C.,3  and  will  doubtless  have 

1  BAR,  I,  503. 

2  BAR,  III,  16,  1.  5;  Cairo  Hymn  to  Amon,  V,  11. 1-2,  VIII,  11.  3-4; 
Piankhi  Stela,  1.  105  =  BAR,  IV,  871. 

3  Pyr.  §  1652. 


72     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

been  vastly  older.  We  may  conjecture  that  it  was  one  of 
those  sacred  stones,  which  gained  their  sanctity  in  times 
far  back  of  all  recollection  or  tradition,  like  the  Ka'aba  at 
Mecca.  In  hieroglyphic  the  Phcenix  is  represented  as 
sitting  upon  this  object,  the  form  of  which  was  a  univer- 
sally sacred  symbol  of  the  Sun-god.  Hence  it  is  that  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts  the  king's  pyramid  tomb  is  placed 
under  the  protection  of  the  Sun-god  in  two  very  clear 
chapters,1  the  second  of  which  opens  with  a  reference  to 
the  fact  that  the  Sun-god  when  he  created  the  other  gods 
was  sitting  aloft  on  the  ben  as  a  Phcenix,  and  hence  it  is 
that  the  king's  pyramid  is  placed  under  his  protection. 
(See  pp.  76-77.) 

The  pyramidal  form  of  the  king's  tomb  therefore  was  of 
the  most  sacred  significance.  The  king  was  buried  under 
the  very  symbol  of  the  Sun-god  which  stood  in  the  holy 
of  holies  in  the  Sun-temple  at  Heliopolis,  a  symbol  upon 
which,  from  the  day  when  he  created  the  gods,  he  was  ac- 
customed to  manifest  himself  in  the  form  of  the  Phcenix; 
and  when  in  mountainous  proportions  the  pyramid  rose 
above  the  king's  sepulchre,  dominating  the  royal  city  be- 
low and  the  valley  beyond  for  many  miles,  it  was  the  lofti- 
est object  which  greeted  the  Sun-god  in  all  the  land,  and 
his  morning  rays  glittered  on  its  shining  summit  long  be- 
fore he  scattered  the  shadows  in  the  dwellings  of  humbler 
mortals  below.  We  might  expect  to  find  some  hint  of  all 
this  on  the  pyramids  themselves,  and  in  this  expectation 
we  are  not  disappointed,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  hitherto 
no  exterior  inscription  has  ever  been  found  actually  in 
position  in  the  masonry  of  a  pyramid,  so  sadly  have  they 
suffered  at  the  hands  of  time  and  vandals.     A  magnificent 

1Ut.  599  and  600.  Their  content  with  quotations  is  given  be- 
low, pp.  76-77. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS         73 

pyramidal  block  of  polished  granite,  found  lying  at  the 
base  of  Amenemhet  Ill's  pyramid  at  Dahshur,  is,  however, 
unquestionably  the  ancient  apex  of  that  monument,  from 
which  it  has  fallen  down  as  a  result  of  the  quarrying  by 
modern  natives.1 

On  the  side  which  undoubtedly  faced  the  east  appears 
a  winged  sun-disk,  surmounting  a  pair  of  eyes,  beneath 
which  are  the  words  "beauty  of  the  sun,"  the  eyes  of 
course  indicating  the  idea  of  beholding,  which  is  to  be 
understood  with  the  words  "beauty  of  the  sun."  Below 
is  an  inscription2  of  two  lines  beginning:  "The  face  of 
king  Amenemhet  III  is  opened,  that  he  may  behold  the 
Lord  of  the  Horizon  when  he  sails  across  the  sky."  3 

Entirely  in  harmony  with  this  interpretation  of  the  sig- 
nificance of  the  pyramid  form  is  its  subsequent  mortuary 
use.  A  large  number  of  small  stone  pyramids,  each  cut 
from  a  single  block,  has  been  found  in  the  cemeteries  of 
later  times.  On  opposite  sides  of  such  a  pyramid  is  a  niche 
in  which  the  deceased  appears  kneeling  with  upraised  hands, 
while  the  accompanying  inscriptions  represent  him  as  sing- 
ing a  hymn  to  the  Sun-god,  on  one  side  to  the  rising  and 
on  the  other  to  the  setting  sun.  The  larger  museums  of 
Europe  possess  numbers  of  these  small  monuments. 

1  It  was  published,  without  indication  of  its  original  position,  by 
Maspero,  Annates  du  Service  des  antiquites,  III,  pp.  206  ff.  and 
plate;  see  Schaefer,  Zeitschrift  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  41,  84,  who 
demonstrates  its  original  position.  This  had  also  been  noted  in 
the  author's  History  of  Egypt,  Fig.  94. 

2  The  same  inscription  is  found  accompanying  the  eyes  on  the 
outside  of  the  Middle  Kingdom  coffin  of  Sebek-o  at  Berlin.  (See 
Steindorff,  Grabfunde  des  Mittleren  Reichs,  II,  5,  1.) 

3  It  is  evident  that  the  identification  of  Osiris  with  the  pyramid  and 
temple  in  Pyr.  §§  1657-8  is  secondary  and  another  evidence  of  his 
intrusion  in  the  Solar  faith  of  which  the  Pyr.  Texts  furnish  so  many 
examples. 


74    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

In  the  selection  of  the  pyramid,  the  greatest  of  the  Solar 
symbols,  as  the  form  of  the  king's  tomb,  we  must  there- 
fore recognize  another  evidence  of  the  supremacy  of  the 
Solar  faith  at  the  court  of  the  Pharaohs.1  It  is  notable  in 
this  connection  that  it  was  chiefly  against  Osiris  and  the 
divinities  of  his  cycle  that  protection  was  sought  at  the 
dedication  of  a  royal  pyramid  tomb.2 

The  imposing  complex  of  which  the  pyramid  was  the 
chief  member  has  only  been  understood  in  recent  years  as 
a  result  of  the  excavations  of  the  Deutsche  Orient-Gesell- 
schaft  at  Abusir.  The  pyramid  occupied  a  prominent 
position  on  the  margin  of  the  desert  plateau  overlooking 
the  Nile  valley.  On  its  east  side,  properly  called  the  front 
of  the  monument,  and  abutting  on  the  masonry  of  the 
pyramid,  rose  an  extensive  temple,  with  a  beautiful  col- 
onnaded court  in  front,  storage  chambers  on  either  side, 
and  in  the  rear  a  holy  place.  The  back  wall  of  this  "  holy 
of  holies  "  was  the  east  face  of  the  pyramid  itself,  in  which 
was  a  false  door.  Through  this  the  dead  king  might  step 
forth  to  receive  and  enjoy  the  offerings  presented  to  him 
here.  A  covered  causeway  of  massive  masonry  led  up 
from  the  valley  below  to  the  level  of  the  plateau  where 
pyramid  and  temple  stood,  and  extended  to  the  very  door 

1  There  is  possibly  another  connection  in  which  the  pyramid  form 
may  be  discerned  as  belonging  to  the  Sun-god.  The  triangle  of 
zodiacal  light  which  some  have  claimed  to  be  able  to  discover  in  the 
east  at  sunrise  at  certain  times,  and  the  writing  of  the  Solar  god, 
Soped's  name  with  a  triangle  or  pyramid  after  it,  may  have  some 
connection  with  the  use  of  the  pyramid  as  a  Solar  symbol.  The 
architectural  evolution  of  the  form  through  the  compound  mastaba, 
the  terraced  structure,  like  the  so-called  "terraced  pyramid"  of 
Sakkara,  has  long  been  understood. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  534,  all  of  which  is  a  long  prayer  intended  to  prevent  the 
appropriation  of  pyramid,  temple,  and  their  possessions  by  Osiris  or 
the  gods  of  his  cycle.  This  important  Utterance  is  taken  up  again 
in  connection  with  the  dedication  of  the  pyramid,  pp.  75-76. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        75 

in  the  front  of  the  temple,  with  whose  masonry  it  engaged. 
The  lower  end  of  the  causeway  was  adorned  with  a  sump- 
tuous colonnaded  entrance,  a  monumental  portal,  which 
served  as  a  town  or  residence  temple  of  the  pyramid  and 
was  probably  within  the  walls  of  the  royal  residence  city 
below.  These  temples  were  of  course  the  home  of  the 
mortuary  ritual  maintained  on  behalf  of  the  king,  and  were 
analogous  in  origin  to  the  chapel  of  the  noble's  tomb 
already  discussed  (p.  62).  The  whole  group  or  com- 
plex, consisting  of  pyramid,  temple,  causeway,  and  town 
temple  below,  forms  the  most  imposing  architectural  con- 
ception of  this  early  age  and  its  surviving  remains  have 
contributed  in  the  last  few  years  an  entirely  new.  chapter 
in  the  history  of  architecture.  They  mark  the  culmina- 
tion of  the  development  of  the  material  equipment  of  the 
dead. 

Each  Pharaoh  of  the  Third  and  Fourth  Dynasties  spent 
a  large  share  of  his  available  resources  in  erecting  this  vast 
tomb,  which  was  to  receive  his  body  and  insure  its  pres- 
ervation after  death.  It.  became  the  chief  object  of  the 
state  and  its  organization  thus  to  insure  the  king's  sur- 
vival in  the  hereafter.  More  than  once  the  king  failed  to 
complete  the  enormous  complex  before  death,  and  was 
thus  thrown  upon  the  piety  of  his  successors,  who  had  all 
they  could  do  to  complete  their  own  tombs.  When  com- 
pleted the  temple  and  the  pyramid  were  dedicated  by  the 
royal  priests  with  elaborate  formulas  for  their  protection. 
The  building  was  addressed  and  adjured  not  to  admit 
Osiris  or  the  divinities  of  his  cycle,  when  they  came,  "  with 
an  evil  coming,"  that  is  of  course  with  evil  designs  upon 
the  building.  On  the  other  hand,  the  building  was  charged 
to  receive  hospitably  the  dead  king  at  his  coming.  The 
priest  addressing  the  building  said:    "When   this   king 


76    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Pepi,  together  with  his  ka,  comes,  open  thou  thy  arms  to 
him."  At  the  same  time  Horus  is  supposed  to  say: 
"Offer  this  pyramid  and  this  temple  to  king  Pepi  and  to 
his  ka.  That  which  this  pyramid  and  this  temple  contain 
belongs  to  king  Pepi  and  to  his  ka."  l  Besides  this  the 
buildings  were  protected  by  doors  with  boukrania  upon  or 
over  them,  and  "sealed  with  two  evil  eyes,"  and  the  great 
hall  being  "purer  than  the  sky,"  the  place  was  thus  in- 
violable 2  even  by  the  mortuary  patron  god  Osiris  if  he 
should  come  with  malicious  intent. 

Similarly  the  pyramid  and  temple  were  protected  from 
decay  for  all  time.  When  the  dead  king  appears  in  the 
hereafter  he  is  at  once  hailed  with  greetings  by  Atum,  the 
ancient  Sun-god;  Atum  then  summons  the  gods:  "Ho, 
all  ye  gods,  come,  gather  together;  come,  unite  as  ye 
gathered  together  and  united  for  Atum  in  Heliopolis,  that 
he  might  hail  you.  Come  ye,  do  ye  everything  which  is 
good  for  king  Pepi  II  for  ever  and  ever."  Atum  then 
promises  generous  offerings  "for  all  gods  who  shall  cause 
every  good  thing  to  be  king  Pepi  IPs;  who  shall  cause  to 
endure  this  pyramid  and  this  building  like  that  where 
king  Pepi  II  loved  to  be  for  ever  and  ever.  All  gods  who 
shall  cause  to  be  good  and  enduring  this  pyramid  and  this 
building  of  king  Pepi  II  they  shall  be  equipped  (or  pre- 
pared), they  shall  be  honored,  they  shall  become  souls, 
they  shall  become  mighty;  to  them  shall  be  given  royal 
mortuary  offerings,  they  shall  receive  divine  offerings; 
to  them  shall  joints  be  presented,  to  them  shall  oblations 
be  made."  3 

Again  the  priest  addresses  the  Sun-god  under  his  earliest 
name,  Atum,  and  recalls  the  time  when  the  god  sat  high 
on  the  sacred  ben,  the  pyramidal  symbol  at  Heliopolis, 

1  Pyr.  §§  1276-7.  2  Pyr.  §  1266.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  599. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD-PYRAMID  TEXTS        77 

and  created  the  other  gods.  This  then  is  a  special  reason 
why  he  should  preserve  the  pyramid  of  the  king  forever. 
"Thou  wast  lofty,"  says  the  priest,  "on  the  height;  thou 
didst  shine  as  Phoenix  of  the  ben  in  the  Phcenix-hall  in 
Heliopolis.  That  which  thou  didst  spew  out  was  Shu; 
that  which  thou  didst  spit  out  was  Tefnut  (his  first  two 
children).  Thou  didst  put  thy  arms  behind  them  as  a 
ka-arm,  that  thy  ka  might  be  in  them.  O  Atum,  put  thou 
thy  arms  behind  king  Meniere,  behind  this  building,  and  be- 
hind this  pyramid,  as  a  ka-arm,  that  the  ka  of  king  Mernere 
may  be  in  it  enduring  for  ever  and  ever.  Ho,  Atum! 
Protect  thou  this  king  Mernere,  this  his  pyramid  and  this 
building  of  king  Mernere."  x  The  priest  then  commends 
the  pyramid  to  the  whole  Ennead,  and  finally  proceeds  to 
another  long  Utterance,  which  takes  up  the  names  of  all 
the  gods  of  the  Ennead  one  after  the  other,  affirming  that, 
"as  the  name  of  the  god  so-and-so  is  firm,  so  is  firm  the 
name  of  king  Mernere;  so  are  firm  this  his  pyramid  and 
this  his  building  likewise  for  ever  and  ever."  2 

Resting  beneath  the  pyramid,  the  king's  wants  were 
elaborately  met  by  a  sumptuous  and  magnificent  ritual 
performed  on  his  behalf  in  the  temple  before  his  tomb. 
Of  this  ritual  we  know  nothing  except  such  portions  of  it 
as  have  been  preserved  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  These 
show  that  the  usual  calendar  of  feasts  of  the  living  was 
celebrated  for  the  king,3  though  naturally  on  a  more  splen- 
did scale.  Evidently  the  observances  consisted  chiefly  in 
the  presentation  of  plentiful  food,  clothing,  and  the  like. 
One  hundred  and  seventy-eight  formulae  or  utterances, 
forming  about  one-twentieth  of  the  bulk  of  the  Pyramid 
Texts,4  contain  the  words  spoken  by  the  royal  mortuary 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  600.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  601. 

spyr.  §2117.  4Ut.  26-203. 


78    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

priests  in  offering  food,  drink,  clothing,  ointment,  perfume, 
and  incense,  revealing  the  endless  variety  and  splendid 
luxury  of  the  king's  table,  toilet,  and  wardrobe  in  the 
hereafter.  The  magnificent  vases  discovered  by  Bor- 
chardt  at  Abusir  in  the  pyramid-temple  of  Neferirkere 
(twenty-eighth  century  B.  C.)  are  a  further  hint  of  the 
royal  splendor  with  which  this  ritual  of  offerings  was 
maintained,  while  the  beauty  and  grandeur  of  the  pyramid- 
temples  themselves  furnished  an  incomparable  setting 
within  which  all  this  mortuary  magnificence  was  main- 
tained. 

All  this  system  of  mortuary  maintenance  early  came 
under  the  complete  domination  of  the  Osirian  faith, 
though  the  very  tomb  at  which  it  was  enacted  was  a 
symbol  of  the  Sun-god.  Osiris  had  died  not  in  the  dis- 
tant sky  like  Re,  but  on  earth  as  men  die.  The  human 
aspects  of  his  life  and  death  led  to  the  early  adoption  of 
the  incidents  in  his  story  as  those  which  took  place  in  the 
life  and  death  of  every  one.  Horus  had  offered  to  his 
father  the  eye  which  Set  had  wrenched  out,  and  this  evi- 
dence of  the  son's  self-sacrifice  for  the  father's  sake  had 
made  Osiris  a  "soul,"  and  proven  of  incalculable  blessing. 
The  "Horus-eye"  became  the  primal  type  of  all  offerings, 
especially  those  offered  to  the  dead,  Osiris  having  been 
dead  when  he  received  the  eye.  Thus  every  offering 
presented  to  the  king  in  the  ritual  of  the  pyramids  was 
called  the  " Horus-eye,"  no  matter  what  the  character  of 
the  offering  might  be.  In  presenting  linen  garments  the 
priest  addressed  the  dead  king  thus:  "Ho!  This  king 
Pepi!  Arise  thou,  put  on  thee  the  Horus-eye,  receive  it 
upon  thee,  lay  it  to  thy  flesh;  that  thou  mayest  go  forth 
in  it,  and  the  gods  may  see  thee  clothed  in  it.  .  .  .  The 
Horus-eye  is  brought  to  thee,  it  removes  not  from  thee 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        79 

for  ever  and  ever." 1  Again  in  offering  ointment  the 
priest  assuming  the  office  of  Horus  says:  "Horus  comes 
filled  with  ointment.  He  has  embraced  his  father  Osiris. 
He  found  him  (lying)  upon  his  side  in  Gehesti.  Osiris 
filled  himself  with  the  eye  of  him  whom  he  begat.  Ho! 
This  king  Pepi  II !  I  come  to  thee  steadfast,  that  I  may 
fill  thee  with  the  ointment  that  came  forth  from  the 
Horus-eye.  Fill  thyself  therewith.  It  will  join  thy  bones, 
it  will  unite  thy  members,  it  will  join  to  thee  thy  flesh,  it 
will  dissolve  thy  evil  sweat  to  the  earth.  Take  its  odor 
upon  thee  that  thy  odor  may  be  sweet  like  (that  of)  Re, 
when  he  rises  in  the  horizon,  and  the  horizon-gods  delight 
in  him.  Ho !  This  king  Pepi  II !  The  odor  of  the  Horus- 
eye  is  on  thee;  the  gods  who  follow  Osiris  delight  in  thee."  2 
The  individual  formulae  in  the  long  offering-ritual  are 
very  brief.  The  prevailing  form  of  offering  is  simply: 
"  O  king  X !  Handed  to  thee  is  the  Horus-eye  which  was 
wrested  from  Set,  rescued  for  thee,  that  thy  mouth  might 
be  filled  with  it.  Wine,  a  white  jar."3  The  last  words 
prescribe  the  offering  which  the  formula  accompanies. 
Similarly  the  method  of  offering  or  the  accompanying  acts 
may  be  appended  to  the  actual  words  employed  by  the 
priest.  Thus  through  the  lengthy  ritual  of  six  or  eight 
score  such  utterances,  besides  some  others  scattered 
through  the  Pyramid  Texts,  the  priest  lays  before  the 
dead  king  those  creature  comforts  which  he  had  enjoyed 
in  the  flesh.4    In  doing   so  he  entered  the  mysterious 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  453.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  637.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  54. 

4  The  ritual  of  offerings,  properly  so  called,  in  the  Pyramid  Texts, 
begins  at  Ut.  26  and  continues  to  Ut.  203.  This  ritual  as  a  whole  has 
received  an  Osirian  editing  and  only  Ut.  44  and  50  are  clearly  Solar. 
Each  Spruch,  or  Utterance,  contains  the  words  to  be  used  by  the 
priest,  with  some  designation  of  the  offering,  sometimes  no  more  than 
the  words  "Horus-eye. "     Not  infrequently  directions  as  to  the  place 


80    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

chamber  behind  the  temple  court,  where  he  stepped  into 
the  presence  of  the  pyramid  itself,  beneath  which  the  king 
lay.  Before  the  priest  rose  the  great  false  door  through 
which  the  spirit  of  the  king  might  re-enter  the  temple  from 
his  sepulchre  far  beneath  the  mountain  of  masonry  now 
towering  above  it.  Standing  before  the  false  door  the 
priest  addressed  the  king  as  if  present  and  presented  a  vast 
array  of  the  richest  gifts,  accompanying  each  with  the  pre- 
cribed  formula  of  presentation  which  we  have  already  dis- 
cussed. But  the  insistent  fact  of  death  cannot  be  ignored 
even  in  these  utterances  which  exist  solely  because  the  dead 
is  believed  to  live  and  feels  the  needs  of  the  living.  In  the 
silent  chamber  the  priest  feels  the  unresponsiveness  of  the 
royal  dead  yonder  far  beneath  the  mountainous  pyramid, 
and  hence  from  time  to  time  calls  upon  him  to  rise  from 
his  sleep  and  behold  the  food  and  the  gifts  spread  out  for 
him.  In  order  that  none  of  these  may  be  omitted,  the 
priest  summarizes  them  all  in  the  promise  to  the  king: 
"Given  to  thee  are  all  offerings,  all  oblations,  (even)  thy 
desire,  and  that  by  which  it  is  well  for  thee  with  the  god 
forever."1  Added  to  all  this  elaborate  ritual  of  gifts 
there  were  also  charms  potent  to  banish  hunger  from  the 
vitals  of  the  king,  and  these,  too,  the  priest  from  time  to 
time  recited  for  the  Pharaoh's  benefit.2 
The  kings  of  the  early  Pyramid  Age  in  the  thirtieth  cen- 

where  the  offering  is  to  be  put  accompany  the  formula,  with  mem- 
oranda also  of  the  quantity  and  the  like.  A  little  group  of  prayers 
and  charms  (Ut.  204^212)  follows  the  offering-ritual.  This  group 
also  concerns  offerings,  but  it  is  all  Solar  except  the  first  and  last 
utterance.  The  other  texts  concerning  material  needs  scattered 
through  the  Pyramid  Texts,  conceive  the  king  as  dwelling  no  longer 
in  the  tomb  in  most  cases  (e.  g.,  Ut.  413).  There  is  a  group  of  twelve 
Utterances  on  food  (Ut.  338-349),  and  a  larger  group  concerned 
chiefly  with  the  physical  necessities  (Ut.  401-426). 
i  Pyr.  §§  101  c,  d,  *Pyr.  §204. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        81 

tury  B.  C.  evidently  looked  confidently  forward  to  indefi- 
nite life  hereafter  maintained  in  this  way.  In  a  lament 
for  the  departed  Pharaoh,  which  the  priest  as  Horus  re- 
cited, Horus  says :  "  Ho !  king  Pepi !  I  have  wept  for  thee ! 
I  have  mourned  for  thee.  I  forget  thee  not,  my  heart  is 
not  weary  to  give  to  thee  mortuary  offerings  every  day,  at 
the  (feast  of  the)  month,  at  the  (feast  of  the)  half-month, 
at  the  (feast  of)  '  Putting-do wn-the-Lamp/  at  the  (feast 
of)  Thoth,  at  the  (feast  of)  Wag,  at  the  period  of  thy 
years  and  thy  months  which  thou  livest  as  a  god."1 
But  would  the  posterity  of  an  Oriental  sovereign  never 
weary  in  giving  him  mortuary  offerings  every  day?  We 
shall  see. 

Such  maintenance  required  a  considerable  body  of 
priests  in  constant  service  at  the  pyramid-temple,  though 
no  list  of  a  royal  pyramid  priesthood  has  survived  to  us. 
They  were  supported  by  liberal  endowments,  for  which 
the  power  of  the  royal  house  might  secure  respect  for  a 
long  time.  The  priesthood  and  the  endowment  of  the 
pyramid  of  Snefru  at  Dahshur  (thirtieth  century  B.  C.) 
were  respected  and  declared  exempt  from  all  state  dues 
and  levies  by  a  royal  decree  issued  by  Pepi  II  of  the  Sixth 
Dynasty,  three  hundred  years  after  Snefru's  death. 
Moreover,  there  had  been  three  changes  of  dynasty  since 
the  decease  of  Snefru.  But  such  endowments,  accumulat- 
ing as  they  did  from  generation  to  generation,  must  in- 
evitably break  down  at  last.  In  the  thirtieth  century 
B.  C,  Snefru  himself  had  given  to  one  of  his  nobles  "one 
hundred  loaves  every  day  from  the  mortuary  temple  of 
the  mother  of  the  king's  children,  Nemaathap. "  2  This 
queen  had  died  at  the  close  of  the  Second  Dynasty,  some 

1  Pyr.  §§  2117-18,  restored  from  Pap.  Schmitt. 

2  BAR,  I,  173. 


82    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

two  generations  earlier.  Snefru,  while  he  may  not  have 
violated  her  mortuary  income,  at  least  disposed  of  it  after 
it  had  served  its  purpose  at  her  tomb,  in  rewarding  his 
partisans.  In  the  same  way  Sahure,  desiring  to  reward 
Persen,  one  of  his  favorite  nobles,  finds  no  other  resources 
available  and  diverts  to  Persen's  tomb  an  income  of  loaves 
and  oil  formerly  paid  to  the  queen  Neferhotepes  every 
day.1  There  is  in  these  acts  of  Snefru  and  Sahure  a  hint 
of  one  possible  means  of  meeting  the  dilemma  as  the  num- 
ber of  tomb  endowments  increased,  viz.,  by  supplying  one 
tomb  with  food-offerings  which  had  already  served  in  an- 
other. Even  so  the  increasing  number  of  royal  tombs 
made  it  more  and  more  difficult  as  a  mere  matter  of  man- 
agement and  administration  to  maintain  them.  Hence 
even  the  priests  of  Sahure's  pyramid  in  the  middle  of  the 
twenty-eighth  century  B.  C,  unable  properly  to  protect 
the  king's  pyramid-temple,  found  it  much  cheaper  and 
more  convenient  to  wall  up  all  the  side  entrances  and  leave 
only  the  causeway  as  the  entrance  to  the  temple.  They 
seem  to  have  regarded  this  as  a  pious  work,  for  they  left 
the  name  of  the  particular  phyle  of  priests  who  did  it,  on 
the  masonry  of  the  doorways  which  they  thus  closed  up.2 
After  this  the  accidentally  acquired  sanctity  of  a  figure 
of  the  goddess  Sekhmet  in  the  temple,  a  figure  which  en- 
joyed the  local  reverence  and  worship  of  the  surrounding 
villages,  and  continued  in  their  favor  for  centuries,  re- 
sulted in  the  preservation  of  a  large  portion  of  the  temple 
which  otherwise  would  long  before  have  fallen  into  ruin. 
Sahure's  successor,  Neferirkere,  fared  much  worse.  A  few 
years  after  his  death  a  successor  of  the  same  dynasty 
(Nuserre)  broke  away  the  causeway  leading  up  to  the 

iBAR,  1,241. 

2  Borchardt,  Das  Grabdenkmal  des  Koenigs  Sahure,  pp.  94  ff. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS         83 

pyramid-temple  that  he  might  divert  it  to  his  own  temple 
near  by.  The  result  was  that  the  mortuary  priests  of 
Neferirkere,  unable  longer  to  live  in  the  valley  below, 
moved  up  to  the  plateau,  where  they  grouped  their  sun- 
dried  brick  dwellings  around  and  against  the  facade  of  the 
temple  where  they  ministered.  As  their  income  dwindled 
these  dwellings  became  more  and  more  like  hovels,  they 
finally  invaded  the  temple  court  and  chambers,  and  the 
priests,  by  this  time  in  a  state  of  want,  fairly  took  posses- 
sion of  the  temple  as  a  priestly  quarter.  Left  at  last  with- 
out support,  their  own  tumble-down  hovels  were  forsaken 
and  the  ruins  mingled  with  those  of  the  temple  itself.  When 
the  Middle  Kingdom  opened,  six  hundred  years  after  Ne- 
ferirkere's  death,  the  temple  was  several  metres  deep  under 
the  accumulation  of  rubbish,  and  the  mounds  over  it  were 
used  as  a  burial  ground,  where  the  excavations  disclosed 
burials  a  metre  or  two  above  the  pavement  of  the  temple. 
The  great  Fourth  Dynasty  cemetery  at  Gizeh  experienced 
the  same  fate.  The  mortuary  priests  whose  ancestors  had 
once  administered  the  sumptuous  endowments  of  the 
greatest  of  all  pyramids,  pushed  their  intrusive  burials 
into  the  streets  and  areas  between  the  old  royal  tombs  of 
the  extinct  line,  where  they  too  ceased  about  2500  B.  C, 
four  hundred  years  after  Khufu  laid  out  the  Gizeh  ceme- 
tery. Not  long  after  2500  B.  C,  indeed  the  whole  sixty- 
mile  line  of  Old  Kingdom  pyramids  from  Medum  on  the 
south  to  Gizeh  on  the  north  had  become  a  desert  solitude.1 
This  melancholy  condition  is  discernible  also  in  the  reflec- 
tions of  the  thoughtful  in  the  Feudal  Age  five  hundred 
years  later  as  they  contemplated  the  wreck  of  these 
massive  tombs.     (See  pp.  181-4.) 

What  was  so  obvious  centuries  after  the  great  Pharaohs 
1  Confer  Reisner,  Boston  Mus.  of  Fine  Arts  Bulletin,  IX,  16. 


84    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

of  the  Pyramid  Age  had  passed  away  was  already  dis- 
cernible long  before  the  Old  Kingdom  fell.  The  pyramids 
represent  the  culmination  of  the  belief  in  material  equip- 
ment as  completely  efficacious  in  securing  felicity  for  the 
dead.  The  great  pyramids  of  Gizeh  represent  the  effort 
of  titanic  energies  absorbing  all  the  resources  of  a  great 
state  as  they  converged  upon  one  supreme  endeavor  to 
sheath  eternally  the  body  of  a  single  man,  the  head  of  the 
state,  in  a  husk  of  masonry  so  colossal  that  by  these 
purely  material  means  the  royal  body  might  defy  all  time 
and  by  sheer  force  of  mechanical  supremacy  make  con- 
quest of  immortality.  The  decline  of  such  vast  pyramids 
as  those  of  the  Fourth  Dynasty  at  Gizeh,  and  the  final 
insertion  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  in  the  pyramids  beginning 
with  the  last  king  of  the  Fifth  Dynasty  about  2625  B.  C, 
puts  the  emphasis  on  well-being  elsewhere,  a  belief  in 
felicity  in  some  distant  place  not  so  entirely  dependent 
upon  material  means,  and  recognizes  in  some  degree  the 
fact  that  piles  of  masonry  cannot  confer  that  immortality 
which  a  man  must  win  in  his  own  soul. 

The  Pyramid  Texts  as  a  whole  furnish  us  the  oldest 
chapter  in  human  thinking  preserved  to  us,  the  remotest 
reach  in  the  intellectual  history  of  man  which  we  are  now 
able  to  discern.  It  had  always  been  supposed  that  the 
pyramids  were  all  without  inscription,  until  the  native 
workmen  employed  by  Mariette  at  Sakkara  in  1880,  the 
year  before  his  death,  penetrated  the  pyramid  of  Pepi  I,  and 
later  that  of  Mernere.  For  the  first  edition  of  the  Pyra- 
mid Texts  we  are  indebted  to  Maspero,  who  displayed 
great  penetration  in  discerning  the  general  character  of 
these  texts,  which  he  published  during  the  next  ten  years. 
Nevertheless,  it  has  been  only  since  the  appearance  of 
Sethe's  great  edition  in  1910  that  it  has  been  possible  to 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS         85 

undertake  the  systematic  study  of  these  remarkable  docu- 
ments.1 

Written  in  hieroglyphic  they  occupy  the  walls  of  the 
passages,  galleries,  and  chambers  in  five  of  the  pyramids 
of  Sakkara:  the  earliest,  that  of  Unis,  belonging  at  the 
end  of  the  Fifth  Dynasty  in  the  latter  half  of  the  twenty- 
seventh  century  B.  C,  and  the  remaining  four,  those  of 
the  leading  kings  of  the  Sixth  Dynasty,  Teti,  Pepi  I, 
Mernere,  and  Pepi  II,  the  last  of  whom  died  early  in  the 
twenty-fifth  century  B.  C.  They  thus  represent  a  period 
of  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  years  from  the  vicinity  of 
g625  to  possibly  2475  B.  C,  that  is  the  whole  of  the  twenty- 
sixth  century  and  possibly  a  quarter  of  a  century  before 
and  after  it. 

It  is  evident,  however,  that  they  contain  material  much 
older  than  this,  the  age  of  the  copies  which  have  come 
down  to  us.  The  five  copies  themselves  refer  to  material 
then  in  existence  which  has  not  survived.  We  read  in 
them  of  "the  Chapter  of  Those  Who  Ascend,"  and  the 
"Chapter  of  Those  Who  Raise  Themselves  Up,"  which 
purport  to  have  been  used  on  the  occasion  of  various  in- 
cidents in  the  myths.2  They  were  thus  regarded  as  older 
than  our  Pyramid  Texts.  Such  older  material,  therefore, 
existed,  whether  we  possess  any  of  it  or  not.  We  find 
conditions  of  civilization  also  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  which 
were  far  older  than  the  Fifth  and  Sixth  Dynasties.     In 

1  Maspero's  edition  appeared  in  his  journal,  the  Recueil,  in  vol- 
umes 3,  4,  5,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12,  and  14;  it  later  appeared  in  a 
single  volume.  Sethe's  edition  of  the  hieroglyphic  text  in  two  vol- 
umes (Die  Altaegyptischen  Pyramidentexte  von  Kurt  Sethe,  Leipzig, 
1908-10)  will  be  accompanied  by  further  volumes  containing  trans- 
lation and  discussion  of  the  texts,  and  with  palaeographic  material 
by  H.  Schaefer. 

2Pyr.  §1245;  see  also  §  1251. 


86    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

summoning  the  dead  to  rise  he  is  bidden:  "Throw  off  the 
sand  from  thy  face,"1  or  "Remove  thy  earth."2  Such 
passages  as  these  must  have  arisen  in  a  time  when  the 
king  was  buried  in  a  primitive  grave  scooped  out  of  the 
desert  sand.  Similarly  when  the  king's  tomb  is  opened 
for  him  that  he  may  rise  he  is  assured:  "The  brick  are 
drawn  for  thee  out  of  the  great  tomb,"  3  a  passage  which 
must  have  come  into  use  when  the  kings  used  brick  tombs 
like  those  at  Abydos  in  the  First  and  Second  Dynasties. 
Like  the  sand  grave  or  the  brick  tomb,  is  the  common 
representation  of  the  king  crossing  the  celestial  waters  on 
the  two  reed  floats,  used  by  the  peasants  of  Nubia  to  this 
day. 

Parallel  with  these  hints  in  the  conditions  of  civiliza- 
tion are  others  referring  to  the  political  conditions,  which 
plainly  place  some  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  in  the  days  be- 
fore the  rise  of  the  dynasties,  in  the  age  when  South  and 
North  were  warring  together  for  supremacy,  that  is  before 
3400  B.  C.  We  find  a  sycomore-goddess  addressed  thus: 
"Thou  hast  placed  the  terror  of  thee  in  the  heart  of  the 
kings  of  Lower  Egypt,  dwelling  in  Buto  "  (the  capital  of  the 
prehistoric  Delta  kingdom),4  a  passage  evidently  written 
from  the  point  of  view  of  the  South  in  hostility  toward  the 
North.  We  read  of  Horus  "  who  smote  the  Red  Crowns "  ;5 
again  "the  White  (southern)  Crown  comes  forth,  it  has 
devoured  the  Great  (northern)  Crown;"  6  or  "the  horizon 
burns  incense  to  Horus  of  Nekhen  (capital  of  the  South), 
...  the  flood  of  its  flame  is  against  you,  ye  wearers  of  the 
Great  (northern)  Crown."7     It  is  said  of  the  king  that 

1  Pyr.  §  1878  b.         2  Pyr.  §  747,  same  in  §  1732.  3  Pyr.  §  572. 

4  Pyr.  §  1488;  this  passage  was  first  remarked  by  Sethe  as  showing 

the  early  date  of  the  document,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  38,  64. 

6  Pyr.  §  2037.  6  Pyr.  §  239.  7  Pyr.  §  295. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        87 

"he  has  eaten  the  Red  (crown),  he  has  swallowed  the 
Green  "  (Buto  goddess  of  the  North) ; l  and  in  the  hereafter 
he  is  crowned  with  the  White  (southern)  Crown.2  There 
too  he  receives  the  southern  (Upper  Egyptian)  district  of 
the  blessed  Field  of  Rushes,3  and  he  descends  to  the  south- 
ern district  of  the  Field  of  Offerings.4  As  priest  of  Re  in 
the  hereafter  the  king  has  a  libation  jar  "  which  purifies  the 
Southland."5  Finally,  "it  is  king  Unis  who  binds  with 
lilies  the  papyrus  (the  two  flowers  of  North  and  South) ;  it 
is  king  Unis  who  reconciles  the  Two  Lands;  it  is  king  Unis 
who  unites  the  Two  Lands. "  6  It  is  evident  therefore  that 
the  Pyramid  Texts  contain  passages  which  date  from  before 
the  union  of  the  Two  Lands,  that  is  before  the  thirty-fourth 
century  B.  C;  and  also  others  which  belong  to  the  early 
days  of  the  union  when  the  hostilities  had  not  yet  ceased, 
but  the  kings  of  the  South  were  nevertheless  maintaining 
control  of  the  North  and  preserving  the  united  kingdom. 
All  these  are  written  from  the  southern  point  of  view.  It 
should  not  be  forgotten  also  that  some  of  them  were  com- 
posed as  late  as  the  Old  Kingdom  itself,  like  the  formulae 
intended  to  protect  the  pyramid,7  which  of  course  are  not 
earlier  than  the  rise  of  the  pyramid-form  in  the  thirtieth 
century  B.  C.  Within  the  period  of  a  century  and  a  half 
covered  by  our  five  copies  also,  differences  are  noticeable. 
Evidences  of  editing  in  the  later  copies,  which,  however,  are 
not  found  in  the  earlier  copies,  are  clearly  discernible.  The 
processes  of  thought  and  the  development  of  custom  and 
belief  which  brought  them  forth  were  going  on  until  the 
last  copy  was  produced  in  the  early  twenty-fifth  century 
B.  C.    They  therefore  represent  a  period  of  at  least  a 

1  Pyr.  §  410.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  524.  3  Pyr.  §  1084. 

4  Pyr.  §  1087.  5  Pyr.  §  1179.  6  Pyr.  §  388. 

7  Pyr.  Ut.  599-600;  see  infra,  pp.  75-76. 


88    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

thousand  years,  and  a  thousand  years,  it  should  not  be 
forgotten,  which  was  ended  some  four  thousand  five  hun- 
dred years  ago.  Such  a  great  mass  of  documents  as  this 
from  the  early  world  exists  nowhere  else  and  forms  a 
storehouse  of  experience  from  the  life  of  ancient  man  which 
largely  remains  to  be  explored. 

While  their  especial  function  may  be  broadly  stated  to 
be  to  insure  the  king  felicity  in  the  hereafter,  they  constantly 
reflect,  as  all  literature  does,  the  ebb  and  flow  of  the  life 
around  them,  and  they  speak  in  terms  of  the  experience  of 
the  men  who  produced  them,  terms  current  in  the  daily  life 
of  palace,  street,  and  bazaar,  or  again  terms  which  were 
born  in  the  sacred  solitude  of  the  inner  temple.  To  one  of 
quick  imagination  they  abound  in  pictures  from  that  long- 
vanished  world  of  which  they  are  the  reflection.  While 
they  are  concerned  chiefly  with  the  fortunes  of  the  king, 
these  do  not  shut  out  the  world  around.  Of  the  happiness 
of  the  king  beyond  the  grave  it  is  said:  "This  that  thou 
hast  heard  in  the  houses  and  learned  in  the  streets  on  this 
day  when  king  Pepi  was  summoned  to  life.  ^' x  Of  this 
life  in  the  houses  and  on  the  streets  of  five  thousand  years 
ago  we  catch  fleeting  glimpses:  the  swallows  twittering 
on  the  wall,2  the  herdman  wading  the  canal  immersed  to 
his  middle  and  bearing  across  the  helpless  young  of  his 
flock,3  the  crooning  of  the  mother  to  her  nursing  child  at 
twilight,4  "the  hawk  seen  in  the  evening  traversing  the 
sky,"  5  the  wild  goose  withdrawing  her  foot  and  escaping 
the  hand  of  the  baffled  fowler  in  the  marsh,6  the  passenger 
at  the  ferry  with  nothing  to  offer  the  boatmen  for  a  seat 
in  the  crowded  ferry-boat,  but  who  is  allowed  to  embark 
and  work  his  passage  wearily  bailing  the  leaky  craft;7 

1  Pyr.  §  1189.        2  Pyr.  §  1216.         3  Pyr.  §  1348.        4  Pyr.  §  912. 
*  Pyr.  §  1048.  6  Pyr.  §  1484.  7  Pyr.  §  335. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        89 

the  noble  sitting  by  the  pool  in  his  garden  beneath  the 
shade  of  the  reed  booth; x  these  pictures  and  many  others 
are  alive  with  the  life  of  the  Nile-dweller's  world.  The 
life  of  the  palace  is  more  fully  and  picturesquely  reflected 
than  that  of  the  world  outside  and  around  it.  We  see 
the  king  in  hours  heavy  with  cares  of  state,  his  secretary 
at  his  side  with  writing  kit  and  two  pens,  one  for  black  and 
the  other  for  the  red  of  the  rubrics; 2  again  we  discern  him 
in  moments  of  relaxation  leaning  familiarly  on  the  shoul- 
der of  a  trusted  friend  and  counsellor,3  or  the  two  bathe 
together  in  the  palace  pool  and  royal  chamberlains  ap- 
proach and  dry  their  limbs.4  Often  we  meet  him  heading  a 
brilliant  pageant  as  he  passes  through  the  streets  of  the 
residence  with  outrunners  and  heralds  and  messengers 
clearing  the  way  before  him; 5  when  he  ferries  over  to  the 
other  shore  and  steps  out  of  the  glittering  royal  barge,  we 
see  the  populace  throwing  off  their  sandals,  and  then  even 
their  garments,  as  they  dance  in  transports  of  joy  at  his 
coming; 6  again  we  find  him  surrounded  by  the  pomp  and 
splendor  of  his  court  at  the  palace  gate,  or  seated  on  his 
gorgeous  throne,  adorned  with  lions'  heads  and  bulls' 
feet.7  In  the  palace-hall  "he  sits  upon  his  marvellous 
throne,  his  marvellous  sceptre  in  his  hand;  he  lifts  his 
hand  toward  the  children  of  their  father  and  they  rise  be- 
fore this  king  Pepi;  he  drops  his  hand  toward  them  and 
they  sit  down  (again)."  8  To  be  sure  these  are  depicted  as 
incidents  of  the  life  beyond  the  grave,  but  the  subject- 
matter  and  the  colors  with  which  it  is  portrayed  are  drawn 
from  the  life  here  and  the  experience  here.  It  is  the  gods 
who  cast  off  their  sandals  and  their  raiment  to  dance  for 
joy  at  the  arrival  of  the  king,  as  he  crosses  the  heavenly 

1  Pyr.  §  130.         2  Pyr.  §  954.  '  Pyr.  §  730.         4  Pyr.  Ut.  323. 

B  Pyr.,  passim.     6  Pyr.  §  1197.       7  Pyr.  §  1123.        8  Pyr.  §  1563. 


90    RELIGION  AND   THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Nile;  but  they  of  course  are  depicted  as  doing  that  which 
the  Pharaoh's  subjects  were  accustomed  to  do  along  the 
earthly  Nile.  It  is  the  gods  who  dry  the  Pharaoh's  limbs 
as  he  bathes  with  the  Sun-god  in  the  "lake  of  rushes,"  but 
here  too  the  gods  do  for  the  Pharaoh  what  his  earthly 
chamberlains  had  been  wont  to  do  for  him. 

But  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  these  archaic  texts 
are  saturated  with  the  life  out  of  which  they  have  come, 
they  form  together  almost  a  terra  incognita.  As  one  en- 
deavors to  penetrate  it,  his  feeling  is  like  that  of  entering  a 
vast  primeval  forest,  a  twilight  jungle  filled  with  strange 
forms  and  elusive  shadows  peopling  a  wilderness  through 
which  there  is  no  path.  An  archaic  orthography  veils  and 
obscures  words  with  which  the  reader  may  be  quite  famil- 
iar in  their  later  and  habitual  garb.  They  serve  too  in  sit- 
uations and  with  meanings  as  strange  to  the  reader  as 
their  spelling.  Besides  these  disguised  friends,  there  is  a 
host  of  utter  strangers,  a  great  company  of  archaic  words 
which  have  lived  a  long  and  active  life  in  a  world  now 
completely  lost  and  forgotten.  Hoary  with  age  they  totter 
into  sight  for  a  brief  period,  barely  surviving  in  these  an- 
cient texts,  then  to  disappear  forever,  and  hence  are  never 
met  with  again.  They  vaguely  disclose  to  us  a  vanished 
world  of  thought  and  speech,  the  last  of  the  unnumbered 
aeons  through  which  prehistoric  man  has  passed  till  he 
finally  comes  within  hailing  distance  of  us  as  he  enters 
the  historic  age.  But  these  hoary  strangers,  survivors  of 
a  forgotten  age,  still  serving  on  for  a  generation  or  two  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts,  often  remain  strangers  until  they  dis- 
appear; we  have  no  means  of  making  their  acquaintance 
or  forcing  them  to  reveal  to  us  their  names  or  the  message 
which  they  bear,  and  no  art  of  lexicography  can  force 
them  all  to  yield  up  their  secrets.     Combined  with  these 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        91 

words,  too,  there  is  a  deal  of  difficult  construction,  much 
enhanced  by  the  obscure,  dark,  and  elusive  nature  of  the 
content  of  these  archaic  documents;  abounding  in  allu- 
sions to  incidents  in  lost  myths,  to  customs  and  usages 
long  since  ended,  they  are  built  up  out  of  a  fabric  of  life, 
thought,  and  experience  largely  unfamiliar  or  entirely  un- 
known to  us. 

We  have  said  that  their  function  is  essentially  to  insure 
the  king's  felicity  in  the  hereafter.  The  chief  and  domi- 
nant note  throughout  is  insistent,  even  passionate,  protest 
against  death.  They  may  be  said  to  be  the  record  of 
humanity's  earliest  supreme  revolt  against  the  great 
darkness  and  silence  from  which  none  returns.  The 
word  death  never  occurs  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  except  in 
the  negative  or  applied  to  a  foe.  Over  and  over  again 
we  hear  the  indomitable  assurance  that  the  dead  lives. 
"King  Teti  has  not  died  the  death,  he  has  become  a 
glorious  one  in  the  horizon"; l  "Ho!  King  Unis!  Thou 
didst  not  depart  dead,  thou  didst  depart  living"; 2  "Thou 
hast  departed  that  thou  mightest  live,  thou  hast  not  de- 
parted that  thou  mightest  die";3  "Thou  diest  not";4 
"  This  king  Pepi  dies  not " ; 5  "  King  Pepi  dies  not  by  reason 
of  any  king  .  .  .  (nor)  by  reason  of  any  dead";6  "Have 
ye  said  that  he  would  die?  He  dies  not;  this  king  Pepi 
lives  forever";7  "Live!  Thou  shalt  not  die";8  "If  thou 
landest  (euphemism  for  "diest"),  thou  livest  (again)";9 
"This  king  Pepi  has  escaped  his  day  of  death"; l0 — such 
is  the  constant  refrain  of  these  texts.  Not  infrequently 
the  utterance  concludes  with  the  assurance:  "Thou  livest, 
thou  livest,  raise  thee  up"; ll  or  "Thou  diest  not,  stand  up, 


1  Pyr.  §  350. 

2  Pyr.  §  134.     *  Pyr>  §  833    4  Pyr<  §  775> 

5  Pyr.  §  1464  c. 

6  Pyr.  §  1468  c-d.  7  Pyr.  §  1477  b.  8  Pyr.  §  2201  c. 

9  Pyr.  §  1975  b. 

10  Pyr.  §  1453  a-h.      "  Pyr.  §  1262. 

92    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

raise  thee  up"; l  or  "Raise  thee  up,  O  this  king  Pepi,  thou 
diest  not";2  or  an  appendix  is  added  as  a  new  utterance 
by  itself :  "  O  lofty  one  among  the  Imperishable  Stars,  thou 
perishest  not  eternally." 3  When  the  inexorable  fact 
must  be  referred  to,  death  is  called  the  "landing"  or  the 
"mooring"  as  we  have  seen  it  above,4  or  its  opposite  is 
preferred,  and  it  is  better  to  mention  "not  living"  than 
to  utter  the  fatal  word;5  or  with  wistful  reminiscence  of 
lost  felicity  once  enjoyed  by  men,  these  ancient  texts  re- 
call the  blessed  age  "before  death  came  forth."  6 

While  the  supreme  subject  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  is  life, 
eternal  life  for  the  king,  they  are  a  compilation  from  the 
most  varied  sources.  Every  possible  agency  and  influ- 
ence was  brought  to  bear  to  attain  the  end  in  view,  and 
all  classes  of  ancient  lore  deemed  efficacious  or  found  avail- 
able for  this  purpose  were  employed  by  the  priests  who 
put  together  this  earliest  surviving  body  of  literature. 
Speaking  chronologically,  there  are  strata  here  represent- 
ing the  different  centuries  for  a  thousand  years  or  more  as 
we  have  seen;  but  speaking  in  terms  of  subject-matter, 
we  must  change  the  figure  and  regard  the  Pyramid  Texts 
as  a  fabric  into  which  the  most  varied  strands  have  been 
woven.  Whether  we  make  a  vertical  or  a  horizontal  sec- 
tion, whether  we  cut  across  the  fabric  transversely  or 
longitudinally  these  varied  elements  are  exposed  and  con- 
trasted. Cutting  transversely  we  discover  the  varied 
constituents  side  by  side,  the  strands  of  the  warp  running 
in  most  cases  from  end  to  end  of  the  fabric;  whereas  when 
we  cut  longitudinally  we  disclose  the  changes  due  to  time 
as  the  woof  is  wrought  into  the  fabric.  We  shall  make 
the  transverse  cut  first  and  ascertain  the  character  of  the 

1  Pyr.  §  867.  2  Pyr.  §  875.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  464. 

*  See  also  Pyr.  §  1090.         6  Pyr.  §  1335.  •  Pyr.  §  1466  d. 


REALMS  OF   THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        93 

constituent  strands,  without  reference  to  the  time  ele- 
ment. Our  question  is,  what  is  the  content  of  the  Pyramid 
Texts? 

It  may  be  said  to  be  in  the  main  sixfold : 

1.  A  funerary  ritual  and  a  ritual  of  mortuary  offerings 
at  the  tomb. 

2.  Magical  charms. 

3.  Very  ancient  ritual  of  worship. 

4.  Ancient  religious  hymns. 

5.  Fragments  of  old  myths. 

6.  Prayers  and  petitions  on  behalf  of  the  dead  king. 
There  is  of  course  some  miscellaneous  matter  and  some 

which  falls  under  several  of  the  above  classes  at  once. 
Taking  up  these  six  classes  we  find  that  the  priestly 
editors  have  arranged  their  materials  in  sections  often  of 
some  length,  each  section  headed  by  the  words:  "Utter 
(or  Recite)  the  words."  Each  such  section  has  been  called 
by  Sethe  in  his  edition  a  "Spruch,"  and  we  call  them 
"Utterances."  Of  these  the  first  of  the  five  pyramids, 
that  of  Unis,  contains  two  hundred  and  twenty-eight, 
while  the  others  contain  enough  additional  "Utterances" 
to  make  up  a  total  of  seven  hundred  and  fourteen.  In  their 
modern  published  form,  including  the  variants,  they  fill 
two  quarto  volumes  containing  together  over  a  thousand 
pages  of  text.1 

With  the  exception  of  the  funerary  and  offering  ritual, 
which  is  at  the  head  of  the  collection,  and  with  which  we 
have  already  dealt  in  the  preceding  lectures,  the  material 
was  arranged  by  the  successive  editors  almost  at  hap- 
hazard. If  such  an  editor  had  the  materials  before  him 
in  groups  he  made  no  effort  to  put  together  groups  of  like 
content,  but  he  copied  as  he  happened  to  come  upon  his 
1  Exactly  1051. 


94    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

sources.  He  must  have  had  before  him  a  series  of  ancient 
books,  each  containing  a  number  of  groups  of  Utterances 
falling  into  all  six  of  the  above  classes,  but  he  copied  each 
book  from  beginning  to  end  before  he  took  up  the  next  one. 
Thus  it  is  that  we  find  groups  of  charms,  or  prayers,  or 
hymns  devoted  to  the  same  subject  embedded  in  various 
places  widely  separated,  or  distributed  throughout  the 
entire  collection,  without  any  attempt  to  bring  them 
together. 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  a  considerable  portion  of 
the  Pyramid  Texts  were  intended  to  be  employed  as 
charms.  Some  of  these  were  used  by  the  mortuary  priest 
at  the  interment;  others  were  wielded  by  the  deceased 
himself  in  self-defence.  "King  Pepi  is  a  magician,  King 
Pepi  is  one  who  is  possessed  of  magic,"  1  say  the  texts. 
The  dead  are  called  "the  glorious  by  reason  of  (or  'by 
means  of)  their  equipped  mouths,"  2  meaning  that  their 
mouths  are  equipped  with  the  charms,  prayers,  and  ritual 
of  the  Pyramid  Texts.  It  is  evident  that  the  dead  king 
was  supposed  to  employ  magic  power,  and  the  agency  of 
this  power  was  the  Pyramid  Texts  themselves.  They  are 
sometimes  unequivocally  called  magical  charms.  "This 
charm  that  is  in  the  belly  of  king  Pepi  is  on  him  when  he 
ascends  and  lifts  himself  to  the  sky"  affirms  one  passage,3 
and  the  Utterance  referred  to  is  an  accompanying  list  of 
the  limbs  of  the  king,  which  are  thus  protected.  Again 
in  a  remarkable  passage  the  ancient  text  insists:  "It  is 
not  this  king  Pepi  who  says  this  against  you,  ye  gods;  it 
is  the  charm  which  says  this  against  you,  ye  gods,"  4  and 
"this"  is  the  text  of  the  accompanying  Utterance.  The 
possession  of  such  charms  was  vitally  important,  so  that 
a  special  charm  was  included  to  prevent  the  departed 

1  Pyr.  §  924  b.        2  Pyr.  §  930  a.         3  Pyr.  §  1318  c.        *  Pyr.  §  1324. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        95 

Pharaoh  from  being  deprived  of  his  charm  or  his  magical 
power.1 

The  distinction  between  a  charm  and  a  prayer  in  these 
texts  is  difficult  for  the  reason  that  a  text  of  a  character 
originally  in  no  way  connected  or  identified  with  magical 
formula?  may  be  employed  as  such.  We  find  a  Sun-hymn2 
called  a  "charm"  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  Again  the 
archaic  hymn  to  Nut,3  a  fragment  of  ancient  ritual,  is 
later  employed  as  a  household  charm.4  The  question  is 
not  infrequently  one  of  function  rather  than  one  of  con- 
tent. The  serpent-charms  are  distinguishable  as  such  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts  at  the  first  glance  in  most  cases;  but 
the  question  whether  a  hymn  or  a  prayer  may  not  be  de- 
signed to  serve  as  a  charm  is  sometimes  not  easily  decided. 
The  question  is  an  important  one,  because  some  have 
averred  that  the  whole  body  of  Pyramid  Texts  is  simply 
a  collection  of  magical  charms,  and  that  therefore  the 
repetition  of  any  Utterance  was  supposed  to  exert  magical 
power.  Such  a  sweeping  statement  cannot  be  demon- 
strated. An  ancient  hymn  supposed  to  be  repeated  by 
the  dead  king,  when  it  is  accompanied  by  no  express 
statement  that  it  is  a  charm,  may  have  served  the  same 
function  with  regard  to  the  god  to  whom  it  is  addressed, 
which  it  served  in  the  ancient  ritual  from  which  it  was 
taken;  and  because  some  such  hymns  have  been  inserted 
in  charms  is  no  sufficient  reason  for  concluding  that  all 
such  hymns  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  are  necessarily  charms. 
The  Pyramid  Texts  themselves  are  one  of  the  most  im- 
portant documents  in  which  we  may  observe  the  gradual 
invasion  of  mortuary  religious  beliefs  by  the  power  of 
magic,  but  when  the  last  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  was  edited 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  678.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  456.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  429-435. 

4  Erman,  Zauberspr.  fur  Mutter  und  Kind,  5,  8-6,  8. 


96    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

in  the  twenty-fifth  century  B.  C.  the  triumph  of  magic  in 
the  realm  of  such  beliefs  was  still  a  thousand  years  away. 

Besides  the  funerary  and  offering  ritual  employed  at  the 
tomb,  and  besides  the  charms  unquestionably  present, 
there  is  then  a  large  residuum  of  ancient  religious  litera- 
ture, consisting  of  ritual  of  worship,  religious  hymns,  frag- 
ments of  old  myths,  and  finally  prayers  on  behalf  of  the 
dead  (Nos  3,  4,  5,  and  6,  above).  An  Osirian  Utterance 
in  the  Pyramid  Texts1  occurs  over  a  thousand  years 
later  as  part  of  the  ritual  at  Abydos  on  the  wall  of  the 
Atum  chapel  in  the  Seti  temple  of  Osiris.  There  can  be 
little  doubt  that  it  was  temple  ritual  also  in  the  Pyramid 
Age.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  the  religious  hymns  embedded 
in  this  compilation,  like  the  impressive  Sun-hymn  in 
Utterance  456,2  or  the  archaic  hymn  to  the  Sky-goddess,3 
or  the  hymn  to  Osiris  as  Nile,4  also  belonged  to  temple 
rituals.  In  this  case  they  fall  in  the  same  class  with  tem- 
ple ritual  and  should  not  be  made  a  class  by  themselves. 
In  so  far  as  the  fragments  of  the  old  myths  fall  into  poetic 
form  they  too  are  not  distinguishable  from  the  religious 
hymns.  These  fragments  in  most  cases  recite  current  in- 
cidents in  which  some  god  enjoys  some  benefit  or  passes 
through  some  desirable  experience  or  attains  some  tri- 
umph, and  the  same  good  fortune  is  now  desired  for  the 
deceased  king.  Many  of  them,  as  we  have  already  seen, 
relate  to  matters  which  unhappily  are  unintelligible  with- 
out a  full  knowledge  of  the  myth  from  which  they  are 
drawn. 

While  the  content  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  may  be  thus  in- 
dicated in  a  general  way,  a  precise  and  full  analysis  is  a  far 
more  difficult  matter.     The  form  of  the  literature  contained 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  637.  2  See  above,  pp.  13-14. 

3  Pyr.  Ut.  427-435.  4  Pyr.  Ut.  581. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        97 

,  is  happily  more  easily  disposed  of.  Among  the  oldest 
literary  fragments  in  the  collection  are  the  religious  hymns, 
and  these  exhibit  an  early  poetic  form,  that  of  couplets 
displaying  parallelism  in  arrangement  of  words  and 
thought — the  form  which  is  familiar  to  all  in  the  Hebrew 
psalms  as  "parallelism  of  members."  It  is  carried  back 
by  its  employment  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  into  the  fourth 
millennium  B.  C,  by  far  earlier  than  its  appearance  any- 
where else.  It  is  indeed  the  oldest  of  all  literary  forms 
known  to  us.  Its  use  is  not  confined  to  the  hymns  men- 
tioned, but  appears  also  in  other  portions  of  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  where  it  is,  however,  not  usually  so  highly  devel- 
oped. 

Besides  this  form,  which  strengthens  the  claim  of  these 
fragments  to  be  regarded  as  literature  in  our  sense  of  the 
term,  there  is  here  and  there,  though  not  frequently,  some 
display  of  literary  quality  in  thought  and  language. 
There  is,  for  example,  a  fine  touch  of  imagination  in  one 
of  the  many  descriptions  of  the  resurrection  of  Osiris: 
"Loose  thy  bandages!  They  are  not  bandages,  they  are 
the  locks  of  Nephthys,"  l  the  weeping  goddess  hanging 
over  the  body  of  her  dead  brother.  The  ancient  priest 
who  wrote  the  line  sees  in  the  bandages  that  swathe  the 
silent  form  the  heavy  locks  of  the  goddess  which  fall  and 
mingle  with  them.  There  is  an  elemental  power  too  in 
the  daring  imagination  which  discerns  the  sympathetic 
emotion  of  the  whole  universe  as  the  dread  catastrophe  of 
the  king's  death  and  the  uncanny  power  of  his  coming 
among  the  gods  of  the  sky  are  realized  by  the  elements. 
"The  sky  weeps  for  thee,  the  earth  trembles  for  thee"  say 
the  ancient  mourners  for  the  king,2  or  when  they  see  him 
in  imagination  ascending  the  vault  of  the  sky  they  say: 

1  Pyr.  §  1363.  2  Pyr.  §  1365. 


98      RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"  Clouds  darken  the  sky, 
The  stars  rain  down, 
The  Bows  (a  constellation)  stagger, 
The  bones  of  the  hell-hounds  tremble, 
The  fporters1  are  silent, 
When  they  see  king  Unis, 
Dawning  as  a  soul."  * 

A  fundamental  question  which  arises  as  one  endeavors 
to  interpret  these  ancient  documents  is  that  of  the  method 
of  employment.  How  were  they  used?  In  all  likeli- 
hood the  entire  collection  was  recited  by  the  mortuary 
priests  on  the  day  of  burial.  The  entire  offering  ritual 
(including  in  the  different  pyramids  one  hundred  and 
seventy-eight  "Utterances")  was  furthermore  recited  on 
all  feast  days,  and  probably  also  on  all  other  days.  The 
fact  that  each  "  Utterance "  is  headed  by  the  words 
"recite  the  words"  also  indicates  this  manner  of  employ- 
ing them.  A  large  proportion  are  personal  equipment  of 
the  dead  king  to  be  recited  by  him  as  occasion  demanded. 
This  is  shown  by  the  curious  fact  that  a  number  of  long 
sections  were  in  the  first  person  originally,  and  were  so 
engraved  on  the  pyramid  walls;  but  these  passages  were 
afterward  altered  to  the  third  person,  usually  by  the  in- 
sertion of  the  king's  name  over  the  old  personal  pronoun. 
It  is  evident  that  many  of  the  charms  were  designed  for 
use  by  the  dead,  as  when  a  Sun-hymn  is  accompanied  by 
directions  stating  that  the  king  is  to  employ  it  as  a  charm, 
which,  if  he  knows  it,  will  secure  him  the  friendship  of  the 
Sun-god.2  When  the  whole  collection  was  recited  by  the 
priest  he  of  course  personified  the  king,  in  all  passages 
where  the  king  speaks  in  the  first  person,  just  as  he  per- 
sonified so  many  of  the  gods  who  are  depicted  speaking 
and  acting  in  these  texts;  but  the  fact  that  a  large  body 

1  Pyr.  §  393.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  456. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS        99 

of  texts  address  the  dead  king  in  the  second  person  clearly 
shows  that  they  were  uttered  by  the  priest  or  some  one  on 
the  king's  behalf.  In  one  case  the  speaker  is  the  living 
and  still  reigning  king  who  offers  eye-paint  to  his  departed 
royal  ancestor.1 

On  one  other  question  in  this  connection  there  can  be  no 
doubt.  These  mortuary  texts  were  all  intended  for  the 
king's  exclusive  use,  and  as  a  whole  contain  beliefs  which 
apply  only  to  the  king.2  This  is  not  to  say,  however,  that 
some  archaic  texts  in  use  among  the  people  have  not  here 
and  there  crept  into  the  collection.  To  these  may  possi- 
bly belong  the  addresses  to  the  dead  as  if  buried  in  the 
desert  sand,  or  a  few  others  like  simple  serpent  charms,  or 
passages  according  the  king  hereafter  a  destiny  not  strictly 
peculiar  to  him  and  one  which  ordinary  mortals  already 
believed  attainable  by  them.  It  is  a  significant  fact  that 
the  nobles  of  the  age  made  practically  no  use  of  the  Pyra- 
mid Texts  in  their  own  tombs. 

While  the  Pyramid  Texts  have  not  been  able  to  shake 
off  the  old  view  of  the  sojourn  at  the  tomb,  they  give  it 
little  thought,  and  deal  almost  entirely  with  a  blessed  life 
in  a  distant  realm.  Let  it  be  stated  clearly  at  the  outset 
that  this  distant  realm  is  the  sky,  and  that  the  Pyramid 
Texts  know  practically  nothing  of  the  hereafter  in  the 
Nether  World.  Echoes  of  other  archaic  notions  of  the 
place  of  the  dead  have  been  preserved  here  and  there. 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  605. 

2  The  presence  of  the  word  "mn"  =  "so  and  so"  instead  of  the 
king's  name  (Pyr.  §  147)  does  not  necessarily  indicate  the  use  of  the 
passage  by  any  one,  but  simply  shows  that  the  priestly  copyist,  when 
first  recording  this  text  in  his  manuscript,  did  not  know  for  what  king 
it  was  to  be  employed.  Then  in  copying  it  on  the  wall  the  draughts- 
man by  oversight  transferred  the  "so  and  so"  from  his  manuscript 
to  the  wall,  instead  of  changing  it  to  the  king's  name. 


100    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

The  oldest  doubtless  is  contained  in  that  designation  of 
the  dead  which  claims  ignorance  as  to  their  whereabouts, 
and  calls  them  "those  whose  places  are  hidden."  1  An- 
other ancient  belief  conceives  the  dead  as  somewhere  in 
the  distant  "west,"  but  this  belief  plays  practically  no 
part  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  and  is  discernible  there  only 
in  an  archaic  title  of  the  mortuary  Anubis  of  Siut,  who 
occasionally  has  appended  to  his  name  the  words  "First 
or  Lord  of  the  Westerners,"  2  a  designation  which  served 
as  the  name  of  an  old  mortuary  god  at  Abydos,  who  was 
later  identified  with  Osiris,  and  his  name  appropriated  by 
him  also  occurs  a  number  of  times  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.3 
But  the  "west"  hardly  attains  even  a  subordinate  role  in 
the  beliefs  which  dominate  the  Pyramid  Texts.  We  hear 
of  it  once  as  a  means  of  gaining  access  to  the  Sun-god: 
"These  thy  four  ways  which  are  before  the  tomb  of  Horus, 
wherein  one  goes  to  the  (Sun-)  god,  as  soon  as  the  sun  goes 
down.  He  (the  Sun-god)  grasps  thy  arm.  .  .  ." 4  In 
one  passage,  too,  the  dead  is  adjured  to  go  to  the  "west"  in 
preference  to  the  east,  in  order  to  join  the  Sun-god,  but 
in  this  very  passage  he  appears  as  one  whose  function  was 
in  the  east.5  An  analogous  passage  affirms:  "King  Unis 
rests  from  life  (dies)  in  the  west,  .  .  .  King  Unis  dawns 
anew  in  the  east."  6  The  west  is  mentioned  casually,  also 
along  with  the  other  celestial  regions  where  the  Sun-god 
in  his  course  finds  the  translated  Pharaoh.7  It  is  the  east 
which  with  constant  reiteration  is  affirmed  to  be  the  most 
sacred  of  all  regions,  and  that  to  which  the  dead  king 

*  Pyr.  §  873  et  at.  2  Pyr.  §§  745  a,  1833,  2198  b. 

3  E.  g.,  §§  650,  759.     See  infra,  p.  38.  4  Pyr.  §  1355. 

6  Pyr.  §§  1531-2;  see  also  §  1703,  where,  by  total  inversion  of  the 
myth,  the  king  is  born  in  the  west.  Similarly  in  §  470  it  is  the  western 
horn  of  the  sky-bull  that  is  removed  for  the  passage  of  the  dead. 

e  Pyr.  §306.  '  Pyr.  §  919. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS      101 

should  fare.  Indeed  he  is  explicitly  cautioned  against  the 
west:  "Go  not  on  those  currents  of  the  west;  those  who 
go  thither,  they  return  not  (again)."  1  In  the  Pyramid 
Texts  it  may  be  fairly  said  that  the  old  doctrine  of  the 
"west"  as  the  permanent  realm  of  the  dead,  a  doctrine 
which  is  later  so  prominent,  has  been  quite  submerged  by 
the  pre-eminence  of  the  east. 

This  "east,"  therefore,  is  the  east  of  the  sky,  and  the 
realm  of  the  dead  is  a  celestial  one,  using  the  term  with 
none  of  its  frequent  theological  significance  in  English. 
Two  ancient  doctrines  of  this  celestial  hereafter  have  been 
commingled  in  the  Pyramid  Texts:  one  represents  the 
dead  as  a  star,  and  the  other  depicts  him  as  associated 
with  the  Sun-god,  or  even  becoming  the  Sun-god  himself. 
It  is  evident  that  these  two  beliefs,  which  we  may  call  the 
stellar  and  the  Solar  hereafter,  were  once  in  a  measure  in- 
dependent, and  that  both  have  then  entered  into  the 
form  of  the  celestial  hereafter  which  is  found  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts.  In  the  cloudless  sky  of  Egypt  it  was  a 
not  unnatural  fancy  which  led  the  ancient  Nile-dweller 
to  see  in  the  splendor  of  the  nightly  heavens  the  host  of 
those  who  had  preceded  him;  thither  they  had  flown  as 
birds,  rising  above  all  foes  of  the  air,2  and  there  they  now 
swept  across  the  sky  as  eternal  stars.3  It  is  especially 
those  stars  which  are  called  "the  Imperishable  Ones"  in 
which  the  Egyptian  saw  the  host  of  the  dead.  These  are 
said  to  be  in  the  north  of  the  sky,4  and  the  suggestion  that 
the  circumpolar  stars,  which  never  set  or  disappear,  are 
the  ones  which  are  meant  is  a  very  probable  one.5  While 
there  are  Utterances  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  which  define 

1  Pyr.  §  2175.  2  Pyr.  §  1216. 

3  See  the  author's  History  of  Egypt,  p.  64.  4  Pyr.  §  1080. 

6  Borchardt,  in  Erman,  Handbiich  der  aegypt.  Rel.,  p.  107. 


102    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  stellar  notion  of  the  hereafter  without  any  reference 
to  the  Solar  faith,1  and  which  have  doubtless  descended 
from  a  more  ancient  day  when  the  stellar  belief  was  in- 
dependent of  the  Solar,  it  is  evident  that  the  stellar  notion 
has  been  absorbed  in  the  Solar.  There  is  a  trace  of  the 
process  in  the  endeavor  to  reconcile  the  northern  station 
of  the  " Imperishables "  with  the  "east"  as  the  place  of 
the  dead  in  the  Solar  faith.  We  find  provision  made  that 
the  deceased  king  "may  ferry  over  to  Re,  to  the  horizon 
.  .  .  to  his  station  on  the  east  side  of  the  sky,  in  its  northern 
region  among  the  Imperishable  (Stars)."  2  Thus  the  stel- 
lar and  the  Solar  elements  were  combined,  though  the 
Solar  beliefs  predominate  so  strongly  that  the  Pyramid 
Texts  as  a  whole  and  in  the  form  in  which  they  have 
reached  us  may  be  said  to  be  of  Solar  origin. 

The  Solar  destiny  was  perhaps  suggested  by  the  daily 
disappearance  and  reappearance  of  the  sun.  We  find  the 
texts  assuring  us,  "  This  king  Pepi  lives  as  lives  he  ( =  the 
Sun-god)  who  has  entered  the  west  of  the  sky,  when  he 
rises  in  the  east  of  the  sky."  3  It  should  be  noted  that 
the  place  of  living  again  is,  however,  the  east,  and  it  is 
not  only  the  east,  but  explicitly  the  east  of  the  sky. 
Death  was  on  earth;  life  was  to  be  had  only  in  the  sky. 

"Men  fall, 
Their  name  is  not. 
Seize  thou  king  Teti  by  his  arm, 
Take  thou  king  Teti  to  the  sky, 
That  he  die  not  on  earth, 
Among  men."4 

This  idea  that  life  was  in  the  sky  is  the  dominant  notion, 
far  older  than  the  Osirian  faith  in  the  Pyramid  Texts. 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  328,  329,  503.  2  Pyr.  §  1000. 

8  Pyr.  §  1469.  4  Pyr.  §  604. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS      103 

So  powerful  was  it  that  Osiris  himself  is  necessarily  ac- 
corded a  celestial  and  a  Solar  hereafter  in  the  secondary 
stage,  in  which  his  myth  has  entered  the  Pyramid  Texts. 

The  prospect  of  a  glorious  hereafter  in  the  splendor  of 
the  Sun-god's  presence  is  the  great  theme  of  the  Pyramid 
Texts.  Even  the  royal  tomb,  as  we  have  seen,  assumed 
the  form  of  the  Sun-god's  most  sacred  symbol.  The 
state  theology,  which  saw  in  the  king  the  bodily  son  and 
the  earthly  representative  of  Re,  very  naturally  con- 
ceived him  as  journeying  at  death  to  sojourn  forever  with 
his  father,  or  even  to  supplant  his  father,  and  be  his  suc- 
cessor in  the  sky  as  he  had  been  on  earth.  The  Solar 
hereafter  is  properly  a  royal  destiny,  possible  solely  to  a 
Pharaoh;  it  is  only  later  that  ordinary  mortals  gradually 
assume  the  right  to  share  it,  though,  as  we  shall  see,  this 
could  be  done  only  by  assuming  also  the  royal  character 
of  every  such  aspirant. 

Passing  as  the  king  did  to  a  new  kingdom  in  the  sky, 
even  though  the  various  notions  of  his  status  there  were 
hot  consistent,  he  was  called  upon  to  undergo  a  purifica- 
tion, which  is  prescribed  and  affirmed  in  the  texts  with 
wearisome  reiteration.  It  may  take  place  after  the 
king's  arrival  in  the  sky,  but  more  often  it  follows  directly 
upon  his  resuscitation  from  the  sleep  of  death.  It  may 
be  accomplished  by  libations  or  by  bathing  in  the  sacred 
lake  in  the  blessed  fields,  with  the  gods  even  officiating  at 
the  royal  bath  with  towels  and  raiment,  or  by  the  fumes 
of  incense  which  penetrate  the  limbs  of  the  royal  dead.1 
Sometimes  it  is  the  water  of  the  traditional  Nile  sources 
at  Elephantine  which,  as  especially  sacred  and  pure, 
should  be  employed,2  or  the  dead  king  appears  there  and 
the  goddess  of  the  cataract,  Satis,  performs  the  ceremonies 

1  Pyr.  §§  27-29,  275,  920-1;  Ut.  323.  2  Pyr.  §  864. 


104    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

of  purification.1  That  this  purification  might  have  moral 
aspects  we  shall  later  (p.  171)  see.  But  it  was  chiefly  in- 
tended to  produce  ceremonial  cleanness,  and  when  this 
was  attained  the  king  was  prepared  to  undertake  the 
journey  to  the  sky. 

We  have  already  had  occasion  to  remark  that  the 
region  toward  which  he  fared  was  the  east  of  the  sky, 
which  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  is  far  more  sacred  than  the 
west  (pp.  100-102).  Not  only  was  the  Sun-god  born 
there  every  day  as  we  have  seen,  but  also  the  other 
gods.  Over  there  was  "  this  field,  where  the  gods  were  be- 
gotten, over  which  the  gods  rejoice  on  these  their  New 
Year's  Days,"  2  and  there  likewise  they  were  born.3  Simi- 
larly according  to  one  view,  not  infrequently  occurring, 
the  deceased  king  is  born  there.4  It  was  there  too  that 
the  eye  of  Horus  fell  when  it  was  wrenched  out  by  Set.5 
In  this  sacred  place  are  the  doors  of  the  sky,6  before  which 
stands  "that  tall  sycomore  east  of  the  sky  whereon  the 
gods  sit."  7  Again  we  hear  of  "the  two  sycomores  which 
are  on  yonder  side  of  the  sky,"  which  the  king  seizes  when 
"they  ferry  him  over  and  set  him  on  the  east  side  of  the 
sky."  8  Here  in  this  sacred  place  too  the  dead  king  finds 
the  Sun-god,  or  is  found  by  him,9  here  he  ascends  to  the 
sky,10  and  here  the  ferry  lands  which  has  brought  him  over.11 

I  Pyr.  §  1116.  2  Pyr.  §  1187.  3  Pyr.  §  928.  4  Pyr.  §  607. 
5  Pyr.  §§  594-6,  947.  6  Pyr.  §§  1343,  1440.  7  Pyr.  §  916. 
8  Pyr.  §  1433.          9  Pyr.  §  919.           10  Pyr.  §§  326,  883,  1530. 

II  Pyr.  §  1541.  The  supremacy  of  the  east  is  such  that  even  the 
Osirian  Isis  and  Nephthys  appear  as  "  the  great  and  mighty  pair,  who 
are  in  the  east  of  the  sky"  (Pyr.  §2200).  In  spite  of  the  fact  that 
Osiris  is  "  First  of  the  Westerners"  he  goes  to  the  east  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  and  the  pair,  Isis  and  Nephthys,  carry  the  dead  into  the  east 
(Pyr.  Ut.  702).  In  Pyr.  §§  1496-8  the  east  combines  with  the  south 
and  "the  middle  of  the  sky"  as  places  where  the  ascent  to  the  sky 
may  be  made. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS      105 

When  the  deceased  Pharaoh  turned  his  face  eastward 
toward  this  sacred  region  he  was  confronted  by  a  lake 
lying  along  the  east  which  it  was  necessary  for  him  to 
cross  in  order  to  reach  the  realm  of  the  Sun-god.  It  was 
on  the  further,  that  is  eastern,  shore  of  this  lake  that  the 
eye  of  Horus  had  fallen  in  his  combat  with  Set.1  It  was 
called  the  "Lily-lake,"  and  it  was  long  enough  to  possess 
"windings/' 2  and  must  have  stretched  far  to  the  north 
and  south  along  the  eastern  horizon.3  Beyond  it  lay  a 
strange  wonder-land,  alive  with  uncanny  forces  on  every 
hand.  All  was  alive,  whether  it  was  the  seat  into  which 
the  king  dropped,  or  the  steering-oar  to  which  he  reached 
out  his  hand,4  or  the  barque  into  which  he  stepped,5  or 
the  gates  through  which  he  passed.  To  all  these,  or  to 
anything  which  he  found,  he  might  speak;  and  these  un- 
canny things  might  speak  to  him,  like  the  swan-boat  of 
Lohengrin.  Indeed  it  was  a  wonder-world  like  that  in 
the  swan-stories  or  the  Nibelungen  tales  of  the  Germanic 
traditions,  a  world  like  that  of  the  Morte  d'Arthur,  where 
prodigies  meet  the  wayfarer  at  every  turn. 

To  the  dweller  along  the  Nile  the  most  obvious  way  to 
cross  the  Lily-lake  is  to  embark  in  a  ferry-boat.  We  find 
it  among  the  rushes  of  the  lake-shore  with  the  ferryman 
standing  in  the  stern  poling  it  rapidly  along.  To  do  so 
he  faces  backward,  and  is  therefore  called  "  Face-behind," 
or  "Look-behind."6  He  rarely  speaks,  but  stands  in 
silence  awaiting  his  passenger.  Numerous  are  the  pleas 
and  the  specious  petitions  by  which  the  waiting  Pharaoh 

1  Pyr.  §  595  b.  2  Pyr.  §  2061  c. 

3  Pyr.  §§  802, 1376-7.  On  the  eastern  position  of  this  lake  see  also 
Pyr.  Ut.  359.  The  chief  references  on  the  subject  are  Pyr.  §§  469  a, 
543  b.  802  a,  1102  d,  1138  d,  1162  d,  1228  d,  1376  c,  1345  c,  1441a, 
1084  b;  Ut.  359. 

*  Pyr.  §  6021.  5  Pyr.  §  926.  6  Pyr.  §§  1201,  1227. 


106    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

seeks  to  cajole  this  mysterious  boatman  with  averted  face. 
We  hear  him  assured  that  "  this  king  Pepi  is  the  herdman 
of  thy  cattle  who  is  over  thy  breeding-place/' l  and  who 
must  therefore  be  ferried  over  at  once  in  the  ferryman's 
own  interests.  Or  the  king  brings  with  him  a  magic  jar 
the  power  of  which  the  boatman  cannot  resist,2  or  the  ferry- 
man is  assured  that  the  Pharaoh  is  "  righteous  in  the  sight 
of  the  sky  and  of  the  earth"  and  of  the  isle  to  which  they 
go.3  Again  the  king  is  the  dwarf  or  pygmy  of  the  royal 
dances  "who  gladdens  the  (king's)  heart  before  the  great 
throne,"  4  and  he  must  therefore  be  hastened  across  to  the 
court  of  Re  to  gladden  the  Sun-god.  Indeed  this  is  matter 
of  common  knowledge,  as  the  ferryman  is  now  told: 
"This  is  what  thou  hast  heard  in  the  houses  and  learned  in 
the  streets  on  this  day  when  this  king  Pepi  was  summoned 
to  life.  .  .  .  Lo,  the  two  who  are  on  the  throne  of  the 
Great  God  (Re),  they  summon  this  king  Pepi  to  life  and 
satisfaction  forever:  they  are  Prosperity  and  Health. 
(Therefore)  ferry  over  this  king  Pepi  to  the  field  of  the 
good  seat  of  the  Great  God."  5  We  hear  the  boatman's 
challenge  of  the  new-comer:  "Whence  hast  thou  come?" 
and  the  dead  king  must  prove  his  royal  lineage.6  Or  ap- 
peal may  be  made  directly  to  Re:  "O  Re!  Commend 
king  Teti  to  '  Look-behind '  ferryman  of  the  Lily-lake,  that 
he  may  bring  that  ferry-boat  of  the  Lily-lake,  for  king 
Teti,  in  which  he  ferries  the  gods  to  yonder  side  of  the 
Lily-lake,  that  he  may  ferry  king  Teti  to  yonder  side  of 
the  Lily-lake,  to  the  east  side  of  the  sky."  7  If  in  spite  of 
all  the  king's  efforts  the  shadowy  boatman  proves  ob- 
durate and  refuses  to  bring  his  boat  to  the  shore,  then  the 
king  addresses  the  oar  in  the  ferryman's  hand:    "Ho! 

1  Pyr.  §  1183.        2  Pyr.  §  1185.        3  Pyr.  §  1188.        4  Pyr.  §  1189. 
6  Pyr.  §§  1189-91.  6  Pyr.  §  1091.  7  Pyr.  §§  599-600. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD—PYRAMID  TEXTS      107 

Thou  who  art  in  the  fist  of  the  ferryman,"  l  and  if  his 
words  are  powerful  enough,  the  oar  brings  in  the  boat 
for  the  king.  Sometimes  it  is  on  the  opposite  shore  in 
charge  of  four  curly  haired  guardians.  These  four  are 
peremptorily  summoned  to  bring  it  over  to  the  king:  "If 
ye  delay  to  ferry  over  the  ferry-boat  to  this  king  Pepi, 
this  king  Pepi  will  tell  this  your  name  to  the  people, 
which  he  knows;2  .  .  .  king  Pepi  will  pluck  out  these  locks 
that  are  in  the  middle  of  your  heads  like  lotus  flowers  in 
the  garden."  3 

Again,  as  so  frequently  in  these  texts,  an  unknown 
speaker  in  the  king's  behalf  stands  forth  and  threatens 
the  boatman:  "If  thou  dost  not  ferry  over  king  Unis, 
then  he  will  place  himself  upon  the  wing  of  Thoth.  He, 
(even)  he  will  ferry  over  king  Unis  to  yonder  side  of  the 
horizon. " 4  There  is  also  another  ferryman  of  a  boat 
bearing  the  remarkable  name  of  "Eye  of  Khnum,"  5  who 
may  be  called  upon  in  emergency;  and  should  all  other 
means  fail  the  sceptres  of  the  Imperishable  Stars  may  serve 
as  ferryman6  or  the  two  sycomores  in  the  east  may  be  pre- 
vailed upon  to  perform  the  same  office  for  the  king.7 
Even  Re  himself  is  not  unwilling  to  appear  and  ferry  the 
dead  king  across.8  In  any  case  the  dead  cannot  be  left 
without  a  ship,  for  he  possesses  the  cunning  charm  which 
brings  them  all  together:  "The  knots  are  tied,  the  ferry- 
boats are  brought  together  for  the  son  of  Atum.    The 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  616. 

2  To  know  the  name  of  a  god  is  to  be  able  to  control  him. 

3  Pyr.  §  1223.  See  also:  Pyr.  §§  597,  599,  697,  925,  946,  999, 1091, 
1441,  1769,  1429,  and  Ut.  310,  516-522,  616. 

4  Pyr.  §387;  see  also  §§595-7,  1489,  1175. 

5  This  is  of  course  parallel  with  the  designation,  "Eye  of  Horus," 
which  may  also  be  applied  to  the  boat.     See  Pyr.  §§  946,  445,  1769. 

6  Pyr.  §  1432.  7  Pyr.  §  1433.  8  Pyr.  §  363. 


108    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

son  of  Atum  is  not  without  a  boat;  king  Meniere  is 
with  the  son  of  Atum;  the  son  of  Atum  is  not  without 
a  boat."1 

From  the  earliest  days  the  prehistoric  peasant  might 
cross  the  Nile  on  two  reed  floats  bound  firmly  together 
side  by  side  like  two  huge  cigars.2  One  of  the  earliest 
folk-tales  of  the  Sun-god's  voyage  depicted  him  as  cross- 
ing the  celestial  waters  on  such  a  pair  of  floats,  and  how- 
ever primitive  they  might  be,  their  use  by  the  Sun-god  had 
become  common  and  involuntary  belief.  It  required  but 
the  proper  "  sympathetic"  transference  of  their  use  by  Re 
to  the  dead  Pharaoh,  to  insure  him  certain  passage  like 
that  of  the  Sun-god.  Horus  (who,  we  recall,  is  but  another 
form  of  the  Sun-god)  ferries  over  to  the  east  of  the  sky 
on  the  two  floats  and  he  commends  the  dead  king  to  "  these 
four  youths  who  sit  on  the  east  side  of  the  sky,  these  four 
youths  who  sit  in  the  shade  of  the  tower  of  Kati,"  3  "these 
four  youths  who  stand  on  the  east  side  of  the  sky  .  .  . 
(and)  who  bind  together  the  two  floats  for  Re,  .  .  ." 
will  also  "bind  together  the  two  floats  for  this  king 
Pepi."  4  Thus  just  as  "the  two  floats  of  the  sky  are 
placed  for  Re  that  he  may  ferry  over  therewith  to  the 
horizon,"  so  "the  two  floats  of  the  sky  are  placed  for 

1  Pyr.  §  1472. 

2  The  writer  was  once,  like  the  Pharaoh,  without  a  boat  in  Nubia, 
and  a  native  from  a  neighboring  village  at  once  hurried  away  and 
returned  with  a  pair  of  such  floats  made  of  dried  reeds  from  the  Nile 
shores.  On  this  somewhat  precarious  craft  he  ferried  the  writer  over 
a  wide  channel  to  an  island  in  the  river.  It  was  the  first  time  that 
the  author  had  ever  seen  this  contrivance,  and  it  was  not  a  little  in- 
teresting to  find  a  craft  which  he  knew  only  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  of 
5000  years  ago  still  surviving  and  in  daily  use  on  the  ancient  river 
in  far-off  Nubia.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  this  is  the  craft  so 
often  called  the  "two  shnwy"  (dual)  in  the  Pyr.  Texts. 

8  Pyr.  §  1105.  4  Pyr.  §  1026. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS      109 

king  Unis  that  he  may  ferry  over  therewith  to  the  horizon 
to  Re."1 

But  even  these  many  devices  for  crossing  the  eastern 
sea  might  fail  and  then  the  king  must  commit  himself 
to  the  air  and  make  the  ascent  to  the  sky.  "Thy  two 
wings  are  spread  out  like  a  falcon  with  thick  plumage,  like 
the  hawk  seen  in  the  evening  traversing  the  sky,"  says 
the  mysterious  speaker  to  the  king.2  "He  flies  who  flies; 
this  king  Pepi  flies  away  from  you,  ye  mortals.  He  is 
not  of  the  earth,  he  is  of  the  sky.  .  .  .  This  king  Pepi  flies 
as  a  cloud  to  the  sky,  like  a  masthead  bird;  this  king 
Pepi  kisses  the  sky  like  a  falcon,  this  king  Pepi  reaches  the 
sky  like  the  Horizon-god  (Harakhte) . " 3  The  variant 
text  has  like  a  grasshopper,  and  in  accordance  with  this 
we  find  that  the  dead  king  was  born  with  the  back  of  a 
grasshopper.4  As  the  Egyptian  grasshopper  flies  like 
a  bird  to  vast  heights,  the  back  of  a  grasshopper  was  un- 
doubtedly an  appropriate  adjunct  to  the  royal  anatomy. 
But  it  was  the  falcon,  the  sacred  bird  of  the  Sun-god,  whose 
lofty  flight  was  especially  desired  for  the  king.  He  is 
"the  great  falcon  upon  the  battlements  of  the  house  of 
him  of  the  hidden  name."  5  "Thy  bones  are  falconesses, 
goddesses  dwelling  in  the  sky,"  say  they  to  the  king;6 
or  again,  "Thou  ascendest  to  the  sky  as  a  falcon,  thy 
feathers  are  (those  of)  geese. " 7  The  speaker  also  sees 
him  escaping  from  the  hands  of  men  as  the  wild  goose 
escapes  the  hand  of  the  fowler  clutching  his  feet  and  flies 
away  to  the  sky; 8  "the  tips  of  his  wings  are  those  of  the 

1  Pyr.  §  337.  The  floats  were  a  favorite  means  of  crossing;  they  are 
found  frequently  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  See  besides  the  above  pas- 
sages also  §§  342,  351,  358,  464,  926-7,  932-5,  999-1000,  1085-6, 
1103,  1705. 

2  Pyr.  §  1048.  3  Pyr.  §§  890-1.  4  Pyr.  §  1772. 
*  Pyr.  §  1778.         6  Pyr.  §  137.         '  Pyr.  §  913.         8  Pyr.  §  1484. 


110    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

great  goose."  1  Thus  he  "flies  as  a  goose  and  flutters  as 
a  beetle."  2  "His  face  is  (that  of)  falcons  and  his  wings 
are  (those  of)  geese "; 3  "king  Unis  flaps  his  wings  like  a 
zeret-bird, " 4  and  the  wind  bears  him  on  high.  "King 
Unis  goes  to  the  sky,  king  Unis  goes  to  the  sky!  On  the 
wind!  On  the  wind!"5  "The  clouds  of  the  sky  have 
taken  him  away,  they  exalt  king  Unis  to  Re. "  6  He  "has 
ascended  upon  the  rain-cloud." 7  Or  the  priest  sees  strange 
forms  in  the  cloud  of  incense  that  soars  above  him  and  he 
cries:  "He  ascends  upon  the  smoke  of  the  great  incense- 
burning."  8 

In  the  oblique  rays  of  the  sun  also,  shooting  earthward 
through  some  opening  in  the  clouds,  they  beheld  a  radiant 
stairway  let  down  from  the  sky  that  the  king  might  ascend. 
"  King  Pepi  has  put  down  this  radiance  as  a  stairway  un- 
der his  feet,  whereon  king  Pepi  ascended  to  this  his  mother, 
the  living  Urseus  that  is  on  the  head  of  Re."  9  "Thou 
climbest,  thou  mountest  the  radiance, "  says  the  speaker10  as 
he  beholds  the  king  grasping  the  Solar  rays.11  Thus  "  stairs 
to  the  sky  are  laid  for  him  that  he  may  ascend  thereon  to 
the  sky."  12  It  is  of  course  with  the  city  of  the  sun  that 
this  stairway  is  associated:  "The  spirits  of  Heliopolis, 
they  set  up  for  him  a  stairway  in  order  to  reach  the  top."13 
Sometimes  the  Solar  splendor  seems  stretched  out  to  him 
like  vast  arms,  and  the  king  "is  a  flame  (moving)  before 
the  wind  to  the  ends  of  the  sky,  to  the  ends  of  the  earth 
when  the  arm  of  the  sunbeams  is  lifted  with  king  Unis. "  14 
Lest  any  portion  of  the  king's  body  should  fail  to  rise 
with  him,  all  of  his  members,  or  at  least  the  more  impor- 

1  Pyr.  §  1122.  2  Pyr.  §  366.          3  Pyr.  §  461.  4  Pyr.  §  463. 

6  Pyr.  §  309.  6  Pyr.  §  336.          7  Pyr.  §  1774.  8  Pyr.  §  365. 

9  Pyr.  §  1108.                        10  Pyr.  §  751.  n  Pyr.  §  547. 

12  Pyr.  §  365.                         13  Pyr.  §  1090.  14  Pyr.  §  324. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS      111 

tant  ones,  twenty-six  in  number,  are  enumerated  by  name, 
beginning  with  the  crown  of  his  head  and  descending 
through  face,  eyes,  nose,  mouth,  etc.,  to  his  toes,  each 
member  being  identified  with  a  different  god,  "when  he 
ascends  and  lifts  himself  to  the  sky. "  This  canny  device 
is  of  irresistible  magical  potency,  so  that  "every  god  who 
shall  not  lay  steps  for  this  king  Pepi  when  he  ascends" 
shall  suffer  loss  of  all  his  offerings.  Moreover,  the  gods 
are  bidden  to  remember  that  "  It  is  not  this  king  Pepi  who 
says  this  against  you,  it  is  the  charm  which  says  this 
against  you,  ye  gods."  On  the  other  hand,  "every  god 
who  shall  lay  steps  for  king  Pepi  when  he  ascends"  is 
promised  all  offerings,  and  if  he  extends  a  helping  hand  to 
the  king  as  he  climbs  up,  this  god's  "ka  shall  be  justified 
by  Geb."  * 

Again  the  broad  sunbeams  slanting  earthward  seem 
like  a  ladder  to  the  imagination  of  this  remote  people  and 
they  say,  "King  Unis  ascends  upon  the  ladder  which  his 
father  Re  (the  Sun-god)  made  for  him."2  Indeed  we 
find  the  Sun-god  making  the  ladder:  "Atum  has  done 
that  which  he  said  he  would  do  for  this  king  Pepi  II,  bind- 
ing for  him  the  rope-ladder,  joining  together  the  (wooden) 
ladder  for  this  king  Pepi  II;  (thus)  this  king  is  far  from 
the  abomination  of  men. " 3    Again  it  is  the  four  sons  of 

1  All  the  preceding  from  Pyr.  Ut.  539.  It  seems  impossible  to  sep- 
arate these  primitive  means  of  reaching  the  sky  from  the  similar 
or  identical  means  employed  in  later  astral  theology  in  the  Mediter- 
ranean. They  have  survived  in  the  grotesque  tale  of  the  ascent  of 
Alexander  in  the  late  western  (Latin)  version  of  Pseudo-Callisthenes, 
from  which  they  passed  even  into  art.  See  Burlington  Magazine, 
vol.  VI,  pp.  395  ff.  The  ladder  of  the  next  paragraph  was  a  common 
device  in  astral  mortuary  theology.  (See  Cumont,  Astrology  and 
Religion,  p.  184.) 

2  Pyr.  §  390;  similarly  the  ladder  is  associated  with  Heliopolis  in 
Pyr.  §  978.  *  Pyr.  §  2083. 


112     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Horus  who  "bind  a  rope-ladder  for  this  king  Pepi  II; 
they  join  together  a  (wooden)  ladder  for  king  Pepi  II. 
They  send  up  king  Pepi  II  to  Khepri  (the  Sun-god)  that 
he  may  arrive  on  the  east  side  of  the  sky.  Its  timbers  are 
hewn  by  Shesa,  the  ropes  that  are  in  it  are  joined  together 
with  cords  of  Gasuti,  the  Bull  of  the  Sky  (Saturn);  the 
uprights  at  its  sides  are  fastened  with  leather  of  r — *, 
born  of  the  Heset-cow;  a  great  support  is  placed  under 
it  by  '  Him-who-Binds-the-Great-One. '  Lift  ye  up  the 
ka  of  this  king  Pepi  II;  lead  ye  him  to  the  two  lions; 
make  him  ascend  to  Atum. "  l  An  old  Solar  legend  places 
the  ladder  in  charge  of  Set,  or  at  least  associates  it  closely 
with  him.  We  find  it  called  the  "  ladder  which  carried  the 
Ombite  (Set)";2  but  it  also  appears  occasionally  under 
the  guardianship  of  Kebehet,  daughter  of  Anubis.3  Some- 
times the  Sun-god  summons  all  his  divine  subjects  to 
assist  in  making  the  ladder.  "It  is  done  for  this  king 
Pepi  by  Atum  as  it  was  done  for  himself  (Atum).  He 
brings  to  this  Pepi  the  gods  belonging  to  the  sky,  he  brings 
to  him  the  gods  belonging  to  the  earth.     They  place  their 

1  Pyr.  §§  2078-81.  The  exhortation  at  the  end  is  addressed  to  the 
four  sons  of  Horus  of  Letopolis,  Imset,  Hapi,  Dewamutef ,  and  Kebeh- 
senuf,  who  made  the  ladders.  Some  of  the  names  and  epithets  are 
obscure;  the  two  lions  are  Shu  and  Tefnut,  see  §  696  c  and  parallels. 
The  Solar  character  of  the  ladder  is  evident  in  this  passage  also,  which 
is  one  of  the  indications  that  the  four  sons  of  Horus  are  of  Solar 
origin.  Even  in  Osirianized  passages  the  Solar  origin  of  the  ladder  is 
unequivocal.    See  especially  Pyr.  §  472;  also  §  971  and  infra,  p.  153. 

2  Pyr.  §  1253.  In  §  971  it  is  called  "  ladder  of  Set, "  though  as  a  pen- 
dant to  this  it  is  also  called  "ladder  of  Horus."  Throughout  this 
Utterance  (478),  however,  it  is  afterward  called  the  "ladder  of  Set," 
and  it  is  evidently  regarded  as  his,  even  though  Osiris  climbs  it. 
Is  this  another  form  of  the  tradition  that  Set  was  forced  to  carry 
Osiris? 

3  Pyr.  §  468;  besides  the  preceding  references  see  also  Pyr.  §  1431, 
where  the  ladder  is  called  "Ascender  to  the  sky." 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS      113 

arms  under  him.  They  make  a  ladder  for  king  Pepi  that 
he  may  ascend  upon  it  to  the  sky."  l  The  spectacle  of 
the  ascending  king  calls  forth  the  admiration  of  the  gods: 
"'How  beautiful  to  see,  how  satisfying  to  behold,'  say 
the  gods,  'when  this  god  (meaning  the  king)  ascends  to 
the  sky.  His  fearfulness  is  on  his  head,  his  terror  is  at  his 
side,  his  magical  charms  are  before  him.' 2  Geb  has  done 
for  him  as  was  done  for  himself  (Geb) .  The  gods  and  souls 
of  Buto,  the  gods  and  souls  of  Hierakonpolis,  the  gods  in 
the  sky  and  the  gods  on  earth  come  to  him.  They  make 
supports  for  king  Unis  on  their  arm(s).     Thou  ascendest, 

0  king  Unis,  to  the  sky.     Ascend  upon  it  in  this  its  name 

1  Ladder.'"3 

Men  and  gods  together  are  called  upon  in  mighty 
charms  to  lift  the  king.  "O  men  and  gods!  Your  arms 
under  king  Pepi !  Raise  ye  him,  lift  ye  him  to  the  sky,  as 
the  arms  of  Shu  are  under  the  sky  and  he  raises  it.  To 
the  sky!  To  the  sky!  To  the  great  seat  among  the 
gods!"  4  Or  the  daughter  of  the  ancient  mortuary  Anu- 
bis  offers  him  her  shoulder:  "Kebehet  places  him  on  her 
shoulder,  she  puts  him  down  among  the  gardens  (like) 
the  herdmen  of  the  calves, " 5  a  picture  which  we  often 
see  in  the  mastaba  reliefs,  as  the  cowherd  wades  cautiously 
across  the  canal,  immersed  to  the  waist,  with  a  calf  borne 
tenderly  upon  his  shoulders,  while  the  solicitous  mother 
beast  follows  anxiously  behind  licking  the  flanks  of  the 
calf.  Should  all  other  means  fail,  Isis  and  Nephthys  will 
offer  their  hips  upon  which  the  king  mounts,  while  his 
father  Atum  reaches  down  and  seizes  the  arm  of  the  Pha- 
raoh;6  or  the  earth  itself  may  rise  under  the  feet  of  the 

1  Pyr.  §§  1473-4. 

2  For  the  interpretation  of  this  equipment,  see  p.  61,  note  3. 

3  Pyr.  §§  476-9.     4  Pyr.  §  1101.     5  Pyr.  §  1348.     6  Pyr.  §§  379-380. 


114    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

waiting  king  and  lift  him  to  the  sky,  where  Tefnut  grasps 
his  arm1  and  leads  him  into  the  celestial  fields. 

But  the  possibility  remained  that  the  gates  of  the  celes- 
tial country  might  not  be  opened  to  the  new-comer.  Over 
and  over  again  we  find  the  assurance  that  the  double  doors 
of  the  sky  are  opened  before  the  Pharaoh:  "Opened  are 
the  double  doors  of  the  horizon;  unlocked  are  its  bolts"  2 
is  a  constant  refrain  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  That  art 
which  opened  the  door  for  Ali  Baba  and  the  Forty  Thieves 
had  opened  many  a  gate  in  the  ancient  East,  thousands  of 
years  before  the  Arabian  Nights  made  it  familiar  to  us  of 
the  western  world.  The  king  faces  the  gates  with  these 
words:  "O  lofty  one,  (Gate)  whom  no  one  names!  Gate 
of  Nut!  King  Teti  is  Shu  who  came  forth  from  Atum. 
O  Nun!  (the  primeval  waters)  cause  that  this  (gate) 
be  opened  for  king  Teti."  3  "  He  causes  that  those  double 
doors  of  the  sky  be  opened  for  king  Teti  (by  the  following 
charm) : 

"'Men  fall, 

Their  name  is  not. 
Seize  thou  king  Teti  by  his  arm; 
Take  thou  king  Teti  to  the  sky, 
That  he  die  not  on  earth, 
Among  men.'"  4 

A  similar  method  appealed  to  the  fact  that  the  sky- 
gates  had  once  opened  to  each  of  the  four  eastern  Horuses, 
and  by  sympathetic  analogy  they  must  now  inevitably  do 
the  same  for  the  king.  "The  double  doors  of  the  sky  are 
opened,  the  double  doors  of  the  firmament  are  thrown 
open  to  Horus  of  the  gods.  .  .  .  The  double  doors  of  the 
sky  are  opened  to  this  king  Pepi,  the  double  doors  of  the 

1  Pyr.  §  990.  2  Pyr.  §  194.  3  Pyr.  §  603.  4  Pyr.  §  604. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS       115 

firmament  are  thrown  open  to  this  king  Pepi."  *  In  the 
same  way  the  approaching  king  is  identified  with  the  four 
eastern  Horuses  one  after  the  other,  after  which  Re  may 
be  appealed  to  as  his  father:  "O  father  of  king  Pepi,  O 
Re!  Take  thou  this  king  Pepi  with  thee  for  life  to  thy 
mother  Nut,  who  opens  the  double  doors  of  the  sky  to 
this  king  Pepi,  who  throws  open  the  double  doors  of  the 
firmament  to  this  king  Pepi."  2 

The  difficulty  of  the  gates  and  the  ascension  might,  how- 
ever, be  met  by  an  appeal  of  men  directly  to  the  Sun-god : 
"  'Ho  Re/  say  men,  when  they  stand  beside  this  king  Pepi 
on  earth  while  thou  appearest  in  the  east  of  the  sky,  'give 
thy  arm  to  king  Pepi;  take  thou  him  with  thee  to  the  east 
side  of  the  sky.'"3 

It  will  be  seen  that  in  spite  of  the  conviction  of  life, 
abounding  life,  with  which  the  Pyramid  Texts  are  filled, 
they  likewise  reveal  the  atmosphere  of  apprehension 
which  enveloped  these  men  of  the  early  world  as  they 
contemplated  the  unknown  and  untried  dangers  of  the 
shadow  world.  Whichever  way  the  royal  pilgrim  faced 
as  he  looked  out  across  the  eastern  sea  he  was  beset  with 
apprehensions  of  the  possible  hostility  of  the  gods,  and 
there  crowded  in  upon  him  a  thousand  fancies  of  danger 
and  opposition  which  clouded  the  fair  picture  of  blessed- 
ness beyond.  There  is  an  epic  touch  in  the  dauntless 
courage,  with  which  the  solitary  king,  raising  himself  like 
some  elemental  colossus,  and  claiming  sway  over  the  gods 
themselves,  confronts  the  celestial  realm  and  addresses  the 

1  Pyr.  §  1408. 

2  Pyr.  §§  1479-80.  There  are  four  Utterances  which  are  built  up 
on  the  four  Horuses:  325,  563,  and  479,  which  are  of  the  same  general 
structure;  and  573  of  different  structure,  in  which  the  identification 
of  the  king  with  the  four  Horuses  perhaps  takes  place.  On  the  latter 
see  also  infra,  pp.  loi-6.  3  Pyr.  §  1496. 


116     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Sun-god:  "I  know  thy  name.  I  am  not  ignorant  of  thy 
name.1  'Limitless' is  thy  name.  The  name  of  thy  father 
is  '  Possessor-of-Greatness.'  Thy  mother  is  '  Satisfaction, ' 
who  bears  thee  every  morning.  The  birth  of  'Limitless' 
in  the  horizon  shall  be  prevented,  if  thou  preventest  this 
king  Pepi  from  coming  to  the  place  where  thou  art."  2 
The  king  wielding  his  magical  power  thus  makes  himself 
sovereign  of  the  universe  and  will  stop  the  very  rising 
("birth")  of  the  sun  if  he  is  halted  at  the  gate  of  the  Sun- 
god's  realm.  Far  less  impressive  is  the  king's  threat 
directed  against  the  gods  who  oppose  him  as  he  mounts 
the  ladder.  "Every  spirit  and  every  god  who  shall  op- 
pose his  arm  to  this  king  Pepi,  when  he  ascends  to  the  sky 
on  the  ladder  of  the  god,  the  earth  shall  not  be  hoed  for 
him,  an  offering  shall  not  be  brought  for  him,  he  shall  not 
ferry  over  to  the  evening  meal  in  Heliopolis,  he  shall  not 
ferry  over  to  the  morning  meal  in  Heliopolis."  3  Like- 
wise Kebehet,  the  daughter  of  Anubis,  perched  on  the  two 
uprights  of  the  ladder,  is  adjured  to  "open  the  way  of 
king  Unis,  that  king  Unis  may  pass  by,"  and  in  the  same 
words  the  "Ostrich  on  the  shore  of  the  Lily-lake"  and  the 
"Bull  of  Re,  having  four  horns,"  one  toward  each  of  the 
cardinal  points,  are  warned  to  make  way  for  him.4 

And  so  at  last  the  departed  king  draws  near  the  eastern 
shore  of  the  Lily-lake,5  and  "this  king  Pepi  finds  the 
glorious  by  reason  of  their  equipped  mouths,6  sitting  on 

1  To  know  the  name  of  a  god  was  to  hold  sway  over  him. 

2  Pyr.  §§  1434-5.  Compare  similar  threatening  of  the  Sun-god, 
infra,  p.  308. 

3  Pyr.  §  978. 

4  Pyr.  §§  468-471;  see  also  §§  504,  1432,  and  914. 

5  This  was  the  case  whether  he  ferried  over  by  boat  or  employed 
the  ladder;  for  the  latter  was  set  up  in  the  east,  and  the  ascent  was 
made  there;  e.  g.,  Pyr.  §  928. 

6  For  the  explanation  of  this  term  see  p.  94. 


REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD— PYRAMID  TEXTS      117 

the  two  shores  of  the  lake,  ...  the  drinking-place  of 
every  glorious  one  by  reason  of  his  equipped  mouth." 
Then  they  challenge  the  new  arrival  and  the  king  replies: 
"I  am  a  glorious  one  by  reason  of  his  equipped  mouth." 
'"How  has  this  happened  to  thee,'  say  they  to  king  Pepi, 
.  .  .  'that  thou  hast  come  to  this  place  more  august  than 
any  place? '  '  Pepi  has  come  to  this  place  more  august  than 
any  place,  because  the  two  floats  of  the  sky  were  placed,' 
says  the  morning-barque,  'for  Re'";1  and  at  the  story 
of  his  successful  crossing  as  Re  had  crossed,  the  celestials 
break  out  into  jubilee.2  Thereupon  the  Pharaoh  lands, 
takes  up  their  manner  of  life,  and  sits  before  the  palace 
ruling  them.3  Again  we  hear  a  solitary  voice  issuing  from 
the  world  of  the  dead  and  challenging  the  king  as  he 
ascends  and  passes  through  the  gates  of  the  sky,  led  by 
Geb:  "Ho!  Whence  comest  thou,  son  of  my  father?" 
And  another  voice  answers :  "  He  has  come  from  the  Divine 
Ennead  that  is  in  the  sky,  that  he  may  satisfy  them  with 
their  bread."  Again  comes  the  challenge :  "Ho!  Whence 
comest  thou,  son  of  my  father?"  and  we  hear  the  reply: 
"  He  has  come  from  the  Divine  Ennead  that  is  on  earth, 
that  he  may  satisfy  them  with  their  bread."  The  ques- 
tioner is  still  unsatisfied:  "Ho!  Whence  comest  thou, 
son  of  my  father?  "  "  He  has  come  from  the  Zenedzender- 
barque."  And  then  we  hear  the  question  for  the  last 
time:  "Ho!  Whence  comest  thou,  son  of  my  father?" 
"  He  has  come  from  these  his  two  mothers,  the  two  vult- 
ures with  long  hair  and  hanging  breasts,  who  are  on  the 
mountain  of  Sehseh.  They  draw  their  breasts  over  the 
mouth  of  king  Pepi,  but  they  do  not  wean  him  forever." 
Thereafter  the  challenging  voice  is  silent4  and  the  Pharaoh 
enters  the  kingdom  of  the  sky. 

iPyr.  §§930-2.      2Pyr.§935.      3  Pyr.  §§  936-8.      4Pyr.§§  1116-19. 


LECTURE  IV 

REALMS  OF  THE  DEAD — THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL 
HEREAFTER 

We  have  followed  the  royal  pilgrim  as  he  passed  through 
the  celestial  gates,  where  he  awaited  announcement  of  his 
arrival  to  the  Sun-god,  in  whose  realm  he  must  now  abide. 
We  behold  his  heralds  hastening  to  announce  his  advent. 
"  Thy  messengers  go,  thy  swift  messengers  run,  thy  heralds 
make  haste.  They  announce  to  Re  that  thou  hast  come, 
(even)  this  king  Pepi."  x  We  hear  their  message  as  they 
shout,  "' Behold,  he  comes!  Behold,  he  comes !'  says 
Sehpu.  'Behold  the  son  of  Re  comes,  the  beloved  of  Re 
comes/  says  Sehpu,  'who  was  made  to  come  by  Honis.'"  2 
The  gods  crowd  down  to  the  shore.  "This  king  Pepi 
found  the  gods  standing,  wrapped  in  their  garments,  their 
white  sandals  on  their  feet.  They  cast  off  their  white 
sandals  to  the  earth,  they  throw  off  their  garments.  'Our 
heart  was  not  glad  until  thy  coming,'  say  they."  3  Again 
they  are  overcome  with  awe  as  they  hear  the  proclamation 
of  the  heralds  and  behold  the  king  approaching.  Re 
stands  before  the  gates  of  the  horizon  leaning  upon  his 
sceptre,  while  the  gods  are  grouped  about  him.     "The 

1  Pyr.  §§  1539-40;  this  passage  has  been  Osirianized,  but  it  will  be 
found  in  its  original  form  in  §§  1991-2. 

2  Pyr.  §  1492;  the  same  formula  is  repeated  with  the  names  of  Set, 
Geb,  the  souls  of  Heliopolis  and  the  souls  of  Buto  in  the  place  of  the 
name  of  Horus. 

3  Pyr.  §  1197. 

118 


•       THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        119 

gods  are  silent  before  thee,  the  Nine  Gods  have  laid  their 
hands  upon  their  mouths,,,  says  the  herald  voice.1 

It  may  be,  however,  that  the  king  finds  himself  without 
any  messenger  to  despatch  to  Re,  and  in  this  case  the 
ferryman  may  be  induced  to  announce  his  coming.2 
Otherwise,  as  he  approaches  the  gate  the  gate-keeper  is 
called  upon  to  perform  this  office.  "  Ho,  Methen !  Keeper 
of  the  great  gate!  Announce  this  king  Pepi  to  these  two 
great  gods"  (Re  and  Horus).3  He  may  even  be  obliged  to 
intrust  his  case  to  the  good  offices  of  Re's  body  servant, 
affording  an  interesting  side-light  on  the  possible  methods 
of  gaining  the  royal  ear  in  this  distant  age.  "O  ye  who 
are  over  the  offering  and  the  libation!  Commit  king 
Unis  to  Fetekta,  the  servant  of  Re,  that  he  may  commit 
him  to  Re  himself."  4  More  often  the  gods  themselves, 
who  have  greeted  him  with  acclamation,  or  have  stood  in 
awed  silence  at  his  coming,  proclaim  it  far  and  near,  after 
they  have  announced  him  to  Re:  "0  Re-Atum!  This 
king  Unis  comes  to  thee,  an  imperishable  glorious-one, 
lord  of  the  affairs  of  the  place  of  the  four  pillars  (the  sky) . 
Thy  son  comes  to  thee.  This  king  Unis  comes  to  thee." 
Then  Set  and  Nephthys  hasten  to  the  south,  where  they 
proclaim  his  coming  "to  the  gods  of  the  south  and  their 
spirits":  "This  king  Unis  comes  indeed,  an  imperishable 
glorious-one.  When  he  desires  that  ye  die,  ye  die;  when 
he  desires  that  ye  live,  ye  live."  To  the  north  Osiris  and 
Isis  say:  "This  king  Unis  comes  indeed,  an  imperishable 
glorious-one,  like  the  morning  star  over  the  Nile.  The 
spirits  dwelling  in  the  water  praise  him.  When  he  desires 
that  he  live,  he  lives;  when  he  desires  that  he  die,  he  dies." 
Thoth  hastens  to  the  west  with  the  words:    "This  king 

1  Pyr.  §§253-5.  2  Pyr.  §597. 

3Pyr.  §952.  4  Pyr.  §120. 


120    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Unis  comes  indeed,  an  imperishable  spirit,  adorned  with 
the  jackal  on  the  sceptre  before  the  western  height.1  He 
numbers  the  hearts,  he  takes  possession  of  the  hearts. 
When  he  desires  that  he  live,  he  lives;  when  he  desires 
that  he  die,  he  dies."  Finally  Horus,  speeding  to  the  east, 
proclaims:  "This  king  Unis  comes  indeed,  an  imperish- 
able spirit.  When  he  desires  that  he  live,  he  lives;  when 
he  desires  that  he  die,  he  dies."  In  conclusion  of  this 
fourfold  announcement  at  the  cardinal  points,  the  voice 
again  cries  to  Re,  uO  Re-Atum!  Thy  son  comes  to  thee, 
Unis  comes  to  thee.  Lift  him  up  to  thee,  enfold  thou  him 
in  thy  embrace.     He  is  thy  bodily  son  forever."  2 

Thus  received  by  his  father,  the  question  of  the  status 
of  the  royal  pilgrim  at  once  arises.  His  ambitions  some- 
times seem  lowly  enough,  and  he  is  even  amusingly  un- 
ceremonious in  carrying  them  out.  Yonder  sits  Re  at 
his  "divan"  with  his  secretary  at  his  side,  the  scribe 
having  his  two  pens  thrust  behind  his  ears,  while  a  large 
roll  of  papyrus  is  spread  across  his  knees.  As  the  king 
approaches  a  voice  is  heard:  "O  scribe,  scribe!  Break 
thy  writing  kit,  smash  thy  two  pens,  destroy  thy  papyrus 
rolls.  O  Re!  Expel  him  from  his  post  and  put  king 
Pepi  in  his  place."  3  Thus  ensconced  in  a  snug  post  as 
secretary  of  the  ruler  of  the  celestial  realm,  "King  Unis 
sits  before  him  (Re),  king  Unis  opens  his  chests  (of  papers), 
king  Unis  breaks  open  his  edicts,  king  Unis  seals  his  de- 
crees, king  Unis  despatches  his  messengers  who  weary 
not,  king  Unis  does  what  he  (Re)  says  to  king  Unis."  4 
Thus  the  king  becomes  the  counsellor  of  the  Sun-god, 
"the  wise  one  bearing  the  divine  book  on  the  right  of 

1  The  jackal  is  an  old  god  of  the  west,  and  the  reference  is  to  a 
jackal's  head,  which  commonly  appears  on  the  head  of  a  sceptre. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  217.  3  Pyr.  §  954.  4  Pyr.  §§  490-1. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        121 

Re."  l  Again  we  find  the  dead  Pharaoh  serving  as  a 
priest  "before  Re,  bearing  this  jar,  which  purifies  the 
Southland  before  Re,  when  he  comes  forth  from  his 
horizon."  2  He  may  even  appear  as  Uneg,  the  son  and 
body-servant  of  Re,3  and  we  behold  him  as  "a  star  .  .  . 
long  of  stride,  bringing  the  provisions  of  the  (daily) 
journey  to  Re  every  day."  4 

More  often  the  greatest  intimacy  and  familiarity  now 
develop  between  the  Sun-god  and  the  newly  arrived  king; 
"every  beautiful  place  where  Re  goes,  he  finds  this  king 
Pepi  there."  5  Should  there  be  any  difficulties  in  the  way, 
the  dead  king  recites  a  magical  hymn6  in  praise  of  the 
Sun-god,  which  smoothes  the  way  to  perfect  fellowship 
with  Re.  The  priestly  editor  has  added  the  assurance: 
"Now  he  who  knows  this  chapter  of  Re,  and  he  doeth 
them,  (even)  these  charms  of  Harakhte  (the  Horizon-god), 
he  shall  be  the  familiar  of  Re,  he  shall  be  the  friend  of 
Harakhte.  King  Pepi  knows  it,  this  chapter  of  Re;  king 
Pepi  doeth  them,  these  charms  of  Harakhte.  King  Pepi 
is  the  familiar  of  Re,  king  Pepi  is  the  companion  of 
Harakhte."7  Thus  the  departed  Pharaoh  may  "sit  at 
his  (Re's)  shoulder,  and  Re  does  not  permit  him  to  throw 
himself  upon  the  earth  (in  obeisance),  knowing  that  he 
(the  king)  is  greater  than  he  (Re)."  8  In  the  quaint 
imagination  of  the  priestly  editor,  the  king  may  even 
become  the  lotus  flower,  which  the  god  holds  to  his  nose.9 

But  that  association  with  Re  in  which  the  Egyptian  took 
the  greatest  delight  was  the  voyage  with  him  across  the 
sky  in  his  daily  journey  to  the  west.  As  the  cool  Nile 
breezes  and  the  picturesque  life  of  the  refreshing  river 


1  Pyr.  §  267. 

2  Pyr.  §  1179. 

3  Pyr.  §  952. 

4  Pyr.  §  263. 

6  Pyr.  §  918. 

6  See  above,  pp.  13-14. 

7  Pyr.  §§'855-6. 

s  Pyr.  §813. 

9  Pyr.  §  266. 

122     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

were  the  central  picture  in  his  earthly  life,  so  he  looked 
forward  to  finding  the  celestial  Nile  the  source  of  the  same 
joy  in  the  life  hereafter.  "  Thou  embarkest  in  this  barque 
of  Re,  to  which  the  gods  love  to  ascend,  in  which  they 
love  to  embark,  in  which  Re  is  rowed  to  the  horizon."  l 
The  simplest  form  of  this  belief  places  the  dead  king 
among  the  crew  of  the  Solar  barque.  "King  Pepi  re- 
ceives to  himself  his  oar,  he  takes  his  seat,  he  seats  himself 
in  the  bow  of  the  ship,  ...  he  rows  Re  to  the  west."  2 
If  there  is  no  other  way  to  secure  passage  in  the  beautiful 
"sunbeam-barque,"3  the  once  splendid  Pharaoh  is  per- 
mitted to  come  along  as  little  better  than  a  stowaway  and 
to  bail  out  the  craft.4 

The  theological  theory  of  the  state  in  the  Pyramid  Age, 
as  we  have  seen,  represents  the  Pharaoh  as  the  son  of  the 
Sun-god.  The  Pyramid  Texts  of  course  take  full  advan- 
tage of  this  circumstance,  and  often  call  upon  Re  to  recog- 
nize and  protect  his  son.  The  dead  Pharaoh  boldly  ap- 
proaches the  Sun-god  with  the  words :  "1,0  Re,  am  this 
one  of  whom  thou  didst  say,  .  .  .  '  My  son ! '  My  father 
art  thou,  O  Re.  .  .  .  Behold  king  Pepi,  O  Re.  This  king 
Pepi  is  thy  son.  .  .  .  This  king  Pepi  shines  in  the  east 
like  Re,  he  goes  in  the  west  like  Kheprer.  This  king  Pepi 
lives  on  that  whereon  Horus  (son  of  Re)  lord  of  the  sky 
lives,  by  command  of  Horus  lord  of  the  sky."  5  As  Re, 
however,  was  his  own  son,  begotten  every  day  and  born 
every  morning,  the  sonship  of  the  Pharaoh  ultimately 
leads  to  his  identity  with  Re,  and  the  priestly  elaborators 
of  the  Pyramid  Texts  had  no  hesitation  in  reaching  this 
result.  This  was  the  more  easy  in  that  they  had  made  the 
king  divine  by  subtle  ceremonies,  especially  the  burning 

1  Pyr.  §  1687.  2  Pyr.  §  906  =  §§  1573-4.     See  also  §  889. 

3  Pyr.  §  1346.  4  Pyr.  §  335  =  §  950.  B  Pyr.  §§  886-8. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        123 

of  incense,  at  his  interment.1  Even  without  encroaching 
upon  the  position  of  Re  the  dead  Pharaoh  is  pictured  as 
divine,  and  his  divinity  is  proclaimed  to  the  denizens  of 
the  other  world.  "Lift  up  your  faces,  gods  dwelling  in 
Dewat.2  King  Unis  has  come  that  ye  may  see  him  be- 
come a  great  god.  .  .  .  Protect  yourselves  all  of  you. 
King  Unis  commands  men;  king  Unis  judges  the  living 
in  the  court  of  the  region  of  Re.  King  Unis  speaks  to 
this  pure  region  which  he  has  visited,  that  he  may  dwell 
therein  with  the  judge  of  the  two  gods.  King  Unis  is 
mighty  beside  him  (Re).  King  Unis  bears  the  sceptre; 
it  purifies  king  Unis.  King  Unis  sits  with  them  that  row 
Re;  king  Unis  commands  good  that  he  may  do  it.  King 
Unis  is  a  great  god."  3 

This  divinity  is  unmistakably  defined  more  than  once. 
"King  Teti  is  this  eye  of  Re,  that  passes  the  night,  is 
conceived  and  born  every  day."  4  "His  mother  the  sky 
bears  him  living  every  day  like  Re.  He  dawns  with  him 
in  the  east,  he  sets  with  him  in  the  west,  his  mother  Nut 
(the  sky)  is  not  void  of  him  any  day.  He  equips  king 
Pepi  II  with  life,  he  causes  his  heart  joy,  he  causes  his 
heart  pleasure."5  "Thou  earnest  forth  as  king  Pepi, 
king  Pepi  came  forth  as  thou."  6  The  dead  king  does  not 
merely  receive  the  office  and  station  of  Re,  he  actually 
becomes  Re.  "Thy  body  is  in  king  Pepi,  O  Re;  preserve 
alive  thy  body  in  king  Pepi,  O  Re."  7  "  King  Teti  is  thou 
(Re),  thou  art  king  Teti;  thou  shinest  in  king  Teti,  king 
Teti  shines  in  thee."  8  He  is  even  identified  with  Atum 
limb  by  limb,9  or  with  Atum  and  the  Solar  gods,  who  are 
themselves  identified  with  Atum.10   Thus  he  becomes  king 

1  Pyr.  §  25.  2  See  p.  144,  n.  2. 

3  Pyr.  Ut.  252.  4  Pyr.  §  698;  also  §  704. 

6  Pyr.  §§  1835-6.  6  Pyr.  §  1875.  , 7  Pyr.  §  1461  b. 

8  Pyr.  §  703-4.  9  Pyr.  §  135.  10  Pyr.  §§  147-9. 


124     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

of  the  sky  in  Re's  place.  "Thou  embarkest  therein  (in 
the  Sun-barque)  like  Re;  thou  sittest  down  on  this  throne 
of  Re,  that  thou  mayest  command  the  gods;  for  thou  art 
Re,  who  came  forth  from  Nut,  who  begets  Re  every  day."  1 
There  are  indeed  hints  that  the  Pharaoh  takes  forcible 
possession  of  the  Sun-god's  throne,2  and  their  identity 
does  not  exclude  the  idea  of  his  being  dispossessed,  or 
even  of  his  continued  benefits  to  the  Pharaoh,  though 
these  are  sometimes  mutual.  The  voice  says  to  Re: 
"Make  king  Teti  sound,  and  Teti  will  make  thee  sound; 
make  king  Teti  green  (fresh,  youthful),  and  Teti  will 
make  thee  green,"  and  thus  a  mystical  relationship 
with  Hathor,  the  eye  of  Re,  is  established,  "  which  turns 
back  the  years  from  king  Teti"  and  they  pass  over  him 
without  increasing  his  age.3 

Perhaps  the  finest  fragment  of  literature  preserved  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts  is  a  Sun-hymn4  in  which  the  king  is 
identified  with  the  Sun-god.  The  hymn  addresses  Egypt 
in  a  long  and  imposing  enumeration  of  the  benefits  which 
she  enjoys  under  the  protection  and  sovereignty  of  the 
Sun-god.  Hence  Egypt  offers  him  her  wealth  and  produce. 
Now  in  view  of  the  fact  that  the  Pharaoh  is  identified 
with  the  Sun-god,  the  Pharaoh,  therefore,  confers  the 
same  benefits  on  Egypt,  and  must  therefore  receive  the 
same  gifts  from  Egypt.  The  entire  hymn  is  therefore 
repeated  with  the  insertion  of  the  Pharaoh's  name  wherever 
that  of  Re  or  Horus  occurs  in  the  original  hymn,5  and 

1  Pyr.  §  1688.  2  Pyr.  §  306 

3  Pyr.  §§  704-5.  Compare  also  Utterance  573,  in  which  the  king 
is  probably  identified  with  the  four  Horuses,  that  Re  may  protect 
and  preserve  him  alive. 

4  Pyr.  Ut.  587;  see  infra,  pp.  13-14. 

5  This  entire  Utterance,  587,  is  really  but  a  longer  example  of  the 
sympathetic  operation  of  the  god's  activities,  of  which  we  have 
innumerable  examples  throughout  the  Pyramid  Texts,     The  god 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        125 

thus  the  king  appropriates  to  himself  all  the  homage  and 
offerings  received  by  the  Sun-god  from  Egypt. 

But  the  imagination  of  the  priests  does  not  stop  here. 
Equality  or  identity  with  Re  is  not  enough,  and  we  behold 
the  translated  Pharaoh  a  cosmic  figure  of  elemental  vast- 
ness,  even  superior  to  the  Sun-god  in  the  primeval  darkj 
ness.  The  mysterious  voice  cries:  "Father  of  king  Teti  J 
Father  of  king  Teti  in  darkness!  Father  of  king  Teti) 
Atum  in  darkness!  Bring  thou  king  Teti  to  thy  side  that 
he  may  kindle  for  thee  the  light;  that  he  may  protect 
thee,  as  Nun  (the  primeval  ocean)  protected  these  four 
goddesses  on  the  day  when  they  protected  the  throne, 
(even)  Isis,  Nephthys,  Neit,  and  Serket."  l  The  dead 
king  sweeps  the  sky  as  a  devouring  fire  as  soon  as  "the 
arm  of  the  sunbeams  is  lifted  with  king  Unis."  2  Again 
we  see  him  towering  between  earth  and  sky:  "This  his 
right  arm,  it  carries  the  sky  in  satisfaction;  this  his  left 
arm,  it  supports  the  earth  in  joy."  3  The  imagination 
runs  riot  in  figures  of  cosmic  power,  and  the  king  becomes 
"the  outflow  of  the  rain,  he  came  forth  at  the  origin  of 
water";4  or  he  gains  the  secret  and  the  power  of  all  things 
as  "the  scribe  of  the  god's-book,  which  says  what  is  and 
causes  to  be  what  is  not."  5  He  came  forth  before  the 
world  or  death  existed.  "The  mother  of  king  Pepi  be- 
came pregnant  with  him,  O  Dweller  in  the  rnether  sky1; 
this  king  Pepi  was  born  by  his  father  Atum  before  the 
sky  came  forth,  before  the  earth  came  forth,  before  men 
came  forth,  before  gods  were  born,  before  death  came 
forth.     This  king  Pepi  escapes  the  day  of  death  as  Set 

crosses  the  Lily-lake,  the  king  crosses;  the  god  is  purified,  the  king 
is  purified;  the  god  sails  the  sky,  the  king  sails  the  sky,  etc.,  etc. 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  362.  2  Pyr.  §  324. 

3  Pyr.  §  1156.  4  Pyr.  §  1146.  5  Pyr.  §  1146. 


126    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

escaped  the  day  of  death.  This  king  Pepi  belongs  to 
your  '"company1,  ye  gods  of  the  rnether  sky1,  who  cannot 
perish  by  their  enemies;  this  king  Pepi  perishes  not  by 
his  enemies.  (Ye)  who  die  not  by  a  king,  this  king  Pepi 
dies  not  by  a  king;  (ye)  who  die  not  by  any  dead,  king 
Pepi  dies  not  by  any  dead."  L  When  in  process  of  time 
the  gods  were  born,  the  king  was  present  at  their  birth. 

The  mergence  of  the  king  into  the  very  body  and  being 
of  Re  is  analogous  to  his  assimilation  by  the  gods  as  a 
group.  One  of  the  most  remarkable  passages  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts  employs  the  ceremony  and  the  suggestive- 
ness  of  incense-burning  as  a  sympathetic  agency  by  which, 
as  the  odorous  vapor  arises  from  earth  to  the  gods,  it 
bears  aloft  the  fragrance  of  the  king  to  mingle  with  that 
of  the  gods,  and  thus  to  draw  them  together  in  fellowship 
and  association.  The  passage  is  of  importance  as  a  very 
early  priestly  interpretation  of  the  significance  of  incense 
as  fellowship  with  the  gods.     The  passage  reads: 

"The  fire  is  laid,  the  fire  shines; 
The  incense  is  laid  on  the  fire,  the  incense  shines. 
Thy  fragrance  comes  to  king  Unis,  O  Incense; 
The  fragrance  of  king  Unis  comes  to  thee,  O  Incense. 
Your  fragrance  comes  to  king  Unis,  O  ye  gods; 
The  fragrance  of  king  Unis  comes  to  you,  O  ye  gods. 
King  Unis  is  with  you,  ye  gods; 
Ye  are  with  king  Unis,  ye  gods. 
King  Unis  lives  with  you,  ye  gods; 
Ye  live  with  king  Unis,  ye  gods. 
King  Unis  loves  you,  ye  gods; 
Love  ye  him,  ye  gods."  2 

1  Pyr.  §§  1466-8. 

2  Pyr.  §§  376-8.  The  variant  in  the  last  line  has:  "Ye  love  this 
Pepi,  ye  gods."  The  poem  was  of  course  accompanied  by  the  burn- 
ing of  incense;  also  by  an  offering  of  bread  which  immediately  fol- 
lowed. A  formula  of  the  ascension,  as  frequently  with  the  burning 
of  incense,  then  follows. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        127 

This  fellowship  thus  mystically  symbolized  is  in  sharp 
contrast  with  a  dark  and  forbidding  picture,  surviving 
from  vastly  remote  prehistoric  days,  in  which  we  see 
the  savage  Pharaoh  ferociously  preying  upon  the  gods 
like  a  blood-thirsty  hunter  in  the  jungle.  The  passage 
begins  with  the  terrifying  advent  of  the  Pharaoh  in  the 
sky: 

"Clouds  darken  the  sky, 
The  stars  rain  down, 
The  Bows  (a  constellation)  stagger, 
The  bones  of  the  hell-hounds  tremble, 
The  'porters1  are  silent, 
When  they  see  king  Unis  dawning  as  a  soul, 
As  a  god  living  on  his  fathers, 
Feeding  on  his  mothers. 
King  Unis  is  lord  of  wisdom, 
Whose  mother  knows  not  his  name. 
The  honor  of  king  Unis  is  in  the  sky, 
His  might  is  in  the  horizon, 
Like  Atum  his  father  who  begat  him. 

When  he  begat  him,  he  was  stronger  than  he. 

1 

King  Unis  is  one  who  eats  men  and  lives  on  gods, 

Lord  of  messengers,  who  'despatches1  his  messages; 

It  is  'Grasper-of-Forelocks'  living  in  Kehew 

Who  binds  them  for  king  Unis. 

It  is  the  serpent  'Splendid-Head' 

Who  watches  them  for  him  and  repels  them  for  him. 

It  is  'He-who-is-upon-the- Willows' 

Who  lassoes  them  for  him. 

It  is  'Punisher-of-all-Evil-doers* 

Who  stabs  them  for  king  Unis. 

He  takes  out  for  him  their  entrails, 

He  is  a  messenger  whom  he  (king  Unis)  sends  to  'punish1. 

1  The  passage  omitted  is  an  obscure  description  of  the  equipment 
of  the  dead  king,  which,  however,  contains  an  important  statement 
that  the  king  "lives  on  the  being  of  every  god,  eating  their  organs 
who  come  with  their  belly  filled  with  charms." 


128     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Shesmu  cuts  them  up  for  king  Unis 

And  cooks  for  him  a  portion  of  them 

In  his  evening  kettles  (or  'as  his  evening  kettles  =  meal'). 

King  Unis  is  he  who  eats  their  charms, 

And  devours  their  glorious  ones  (souls). 

Their  great  ones  are  for  his  morning  portion, 

Their  middle  (-sized)  ones  are  for  his  evening  portion, 

Their  little  ones  are  for  his  night  portion. 

Their  old  men  and  their  old  women  are  for  his  incense-burning. 

It  is  the  'Great-Ones-North-of-the-Sky' 

Who  set  for  him  the  fire  to  the  kettles  containing  them, 

With  the  legs  of  their  oldest  ones  (as  fuel). 

The  'Dwellers-in-the-Sky'  revolve  for  king  Unis  (in  his  service). 

rThe  kettles  are  replenished1  for  him  with  the  legs  of  their  women. 

He  has  encircled  all  the  Two  Skies  (corresponding  to  the  Two  Lands), 

He  has  revolved  about  the  two  regions. 

King  Unis  is  the  'Great  Mighty-One* 

Who  overpowers  the  'Mighty  Ones' 

Whom  he  finds  in  his  way,  him  he  devours.  .  .  .l 

The  protection  of  king  Unis  is  before  all  the  noble  (dead) 

Who  dwell  in  the  horizon. 

King  Unis  is  a  god,  older  than  the  eldest. 

Thousands  revert  to  him, 

Hundreds  are  offered  to  him. 

Appointment  as  '  Great  One '  is  given  to  him 

By  Orion,  father  of  gods. 

King  Unis  has  dawned  again  in  the  sky, 

Shining1  as  lord  of  the  horizon. 


He  has  taken  the  hearts  of  the  gods; 

He  has  eaten  the  Red, 

He  has  swallowed  the  Green. 

King  Unis  is  nourished  on  satisfied  organs, 

He  is  satisfied,  living  on  their  hearts  and  their  charms. 

Their  charms  are  in  his  belly. 

The  dignities  of  king  Unis  are  not  taken  away  from  him; 

1  This  line  is  found  three  times:  §§  278  a,  407,  444  e. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        129 

He  hath  swallowed  the  knowledge  of  every  god. 

The  lifetime  of  king  Unis  is  eternity, 

His  limit  is  everlastingness  in  this  his  dignity  of: 

*  If-he- wishes-he-does, 

If-he-wishes-not-he-does-not/  1 

Who  dwells  in  the  limits  of  the  horizon  for  ever  and  ever. 

Lo,  their  (the  gods')  soul  is  in  the  belly  of  king  Unis, 

Their  Glorious  Ones  are  with  king  Unis. 

The  plenty  of  his  portion  is  more  than  (that  of)  the  gods. 

Lo,  their  soul  is  with  king  Unis."  2 

In  this  remarkable  picture  the  motive  of  the  grotesque 
cannibalism  is  perfectly  clear.  The  gods  are  hunted  down, 
lassoed,  bound,  and  slaughtered  like  wild  cattle,  that  the 
king  may  devour  their  substance,  and  especially  their  in- 
ternal organs,  like  the  heart  where  the  intelligence  had 
its  seat,  in  the  belief  that  he  might  thus  absorb  and  ap- 
propriate their  qualities  and  powers.  When  "he  has 
taken  the  hearts  of  the  gods,"  "he  has  swallowed  the 
knowledge  of  every  god,"  and  "their  charms  are  in  his 
belly";  and  because  the  organs  of  the  gods  which  he  has 
devoured  are  plentifully  satisfied  with  food,  the  king 
cannot  hunger,  for  he  has,  as  it  were,  eaten  complete 
satiety. 

This  introduces  us  to  a  subject  to  which  the  Pyramid 
Texts  devote  much  space — the  question  of  the  food 
supply  in  the  distant  realm  of  the  Sun-god.  To  explain 
the  apparently  aimless  presentation  of  food  at  the  tomb, 
where,  in  the  Solar  belief  the  dead  no  longer  tarried,  it 
was  assumed  that  the  food  offered  there  was  transmitted 
to  the  dead  in  various  ways.  Sometimes  it  is  Thoth  who 
conveys  the  food  from  the  tomb  to  the  sky  and  delivers 

1  This  is  a  name  or  rank  expressed  in  a  couplet. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  273. 


130    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

it  to  the  dead  king; l  again  it  is  the  two  Solar  barques 
who  transport  it  thither.2  The  "Imperishable  Stars" 
too  may  convey  the  food  offered  on  earth  to  the  kas  in 
the  sky 3  or  the  ferryman  may  be  prevailed  upon  to  do  so.4 
In  any  case  the  chief  dread  felt  by  the  Egyptian  for  the 
hereafter  was  fear  of  hunger,  and  especially  the  danger 
that  he  might  be  reduced  to  the  detestable  extremity  of 
consuming  his  own  uncleanness.  "The  abomination  of 
king  Unis  is  offal;  he  rejects  urine,  he  eats  it  not."  5 

More  commonly  the  celestial  region  where  he  tarries 
furnishes  all  his  necessities.  As  son  of  Re,  born  of  the 
Sky-goddess,  he  is  frequently  represented  as  suckled  by 
one  of  the  Sky-goddesses  or  some  other  divinity  con- 
nected with  Re,  especially  the  ancient  goddesses  of  the 
prehistoric  kingdoms  of  South  and  North.  These  appear 
as  "the  two  vultures  with  long  hair  and  hanging  breasts; 
.  .  .  they  draw  their  breasts  over  the  mouth  of  king  Pepi, 
but  they  do  not  wean  him  forever";6  or  we  find  them  as 
the  two  crowns  of  the  two  kingdoms  personified  as  god- 
desses: "This  king  Pepi  knows  his  mother,  he  forgets  not 
his  mother:  (even)  the  White  Crown  shining  and  broad 
that  dwells  in  Nekheb,  mistress  of  the  southern  palace  .  .  . 
and  the  bright  Red  Crown,  mistress  of  the  regions  of 
Buto.  O  mother  of  this  king  Pepi  .  .  .  give  thy  breast 
to  this  king  Pepi,  suckle  this  king  Pepi  therewith."  To 
this  the  goddess  responds:  "O  my  son  Pepi,  my  king,  my 
breast  is  extended  to  thee,  that  thou  mayest  suck  it,  my 
king,  and  live,  my  king,  as  long  as  thou  art  little."  7    This 

i  Pyr.  §  58.  2  Pyr.  §  717.  3  Pyr.  §  1220. 

4Pyr.  Ut.  521.  Hence  it  is  that  even  in  the  sky  the  deceased 
Pharaoh  is  concerned  that  the  food  supply  of  his  ''altars  that  are 
on  earth"  shall  be  continued.     See  Pyr.  §  1482. 

6  Pyr.  §  718.  6  Pyr.  §§  1118-19.  7  Pyr.  §§910-913. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        131 

incident  exhibits  more  of  the  naturally  and  warmly  human 
than  anything  else  in  the  Solar  theology. 

Besides  this  source  of  nourishment,  and  the  very  bodies 
of  the  gods  themselves,1  there  were  also  the  offerings  of 
all  Egypt,  as  we  have  seen  in  the  ancient  Sun-hymn,  where 
the  dead  king  receives  all  that  is  offered  by  Egypt  to  Re 
(pp.  13-14).  It  is  taken  for  granted  that  the  celestial 
revenues  belong  to  the  king,  and  that  they  will  meet  all 
his  wants.  We  hear  the  voice  calling  for  the  mortuary 
revenues  in  his  behalf :  "  An  offering  which  the  king  gives ! 
An  offering  which  Anubis  gives !  Thy  thousand  of  young 
antelope  from  the  highland,  they  come  to  thee  with  bowed 
head.  An  offering  which  the  king  gives!  An  offering 
which  Anubis  gives!  Thy  thousand  of  bread!  Thy 
thousand  of  beer!  Thy  thousand  of  incense,  that  came 
forth  from  the  palace  hall !  Thy  thousand  of  everything 
pleasant!  Thy  thousand  of  cattle!  Thy  thousand  of 
everything  thou  eat  est,  on  which  thy  desire  is  set!"2 
The  Pyramid  Texts  delight  to  picture  the  plenty  which 
the  king  is  to  enjoy.  "Plenty  has  extended  her  arm 
toward  king  Teti.  The  two  arms  of  king  Teti  have  em- 
braced fisher  and  fowler,  (even)  all  that  the  field  furnishes 
to  her  son,  the  fisher-fowler."  3  We  even  see  him  going 
about  with  sack  and  basket  collecting  quantities  of  food,4 
food  of  the  gods  which  cannot  perish,  "  bread  which  cannot 
dry  up"  and  "beer  which  cannot  grow  stale."  5  For  the 
voice  prays  to  the  Sun-god:  "Give  thou  bread  to  this 
king  Pepi  from  this  thy  eternal  bread,  thy  everlasting 
beer,"6  and  we  read  that  "this  king  Pepi  receives  his 

1  As  above  (pp.  127-9) .  The  phrase  "  Whom  he  finds  in  his  way  he 
eats  him  for  himself,"  referring  to  divine  victims  whom  he  devours 
as  food,  is  found  no  less  than  three  times  (Pyr.  §§  278  a,  407,  444  e). 

2  Pyr.  §§  808-7.  3  Pyr.  §  555.  4  Pyr.  §  556. 
5  Pyr.  §859.                           6  Pyr.  §1117. 


132     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

provision  from  that  which  is  in  the  granary  of  the  Great 
God  (Re) "  l  and  his  "bread  is  the  bread  of  the  god  which 
is  in  the  palace  hall."  2  There  in  "the  good  seat  of  the 
Great  God,  in  which  he  does  the  things  to  be  done  with 
the  revered  (dead),  he  appoints  them  to  food  and  assigns 
them  to  fowling  .  .  .;  he  appoints  king  Pepi  to  food,  he 
assigns  king  Pepi  to  fowling."  3  He  is  surrounded  by 
plenty:  "He  who  is  behind  him  belongs  to  food,  he  who 
is  before  him  belongs  to  snared  fowl,"  4  and  thus  "that 
land  into  which  king  Unis  goes — he  thirsts  not  in  it,  he 
hungers  not  in  it  forever,"  5  for  there  "Appetite  belongs 
to  the  morning  meal  of  the  king,  Plenty  belongs  to  his 
evening  meal."6  Again  a  voice  summons  him:  "Ho, 
king  Pepi!  .  .  .  Raise  thee  up!  Arise!  Sit  down  to  thy 
thousand  of  bread,  thy  thousand  of  beer,  thy  thousand  of 
oxen,  thy  thousand  of  geese,  thy  thousand  of  everything 
whereon  the  god  lives."  7  There  can  be  no  failure  of  the 
source  of  supply:  "a  god  does  not  escape  from  what  he 
has  said.  (Therefore)  he  will  furnish  to  thee  thy  thou- 
sand of  bread,  thy  thousand  of  beer,  thy  thousand  of 
oxen,  thy  thousand  of  geese,  thy  thousand  of  everything 
on  which  the  god  lives."  8 

There  were,  to  be  sure,  certain  contingencies  to  be 
guarded  against,  lest  some  one  else  should  secure  the 
provisions  intended  for  the  king.  "This  king  Pepi  eats 
this  his  sole  bread  alone;  he  does  not  give  it  to  the  one  be- 
hind him;"9  nor  does  he  permit  the  fowl  of  the  air  to 
plunder  him  of  his  portion.10  If  necessary  he  may  resort 
to  magical  means,  so  cunningly  devised  that  he  is  enabled 
to  banish  hunger  and  thirst  and  drive  them  far  away. 

1  Pyr.  §  1182.  2  Pyr.  §  866.  3  Pyr.  §§  1191-2. 

4  Pyr.  §  1394.  5  Pyr.  §  382.  6  Pyr.  §  1876. 

7  P.yr.  §§  2026-7.        8  Pyr.  §  2006.  »  Pyr.  §  1226.         10  Ibid. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        133 

"Hunger!  Come  not  to  king  Teti.  Hasten  to  Nun  (the 
primeval  flood),  go  to  the  flood.  King  Teti  is  sated;  he 
hungers  not  by  reason  of  this  bread  of  Horus  which  he 
has  eaten,  which  his  eldest  daughter  made  for  him.  He  is 
satisfied  therewith,  he  takes  this  land  therewith.  King 
Teti  thirsts  not  by  reason  of  Shu;  he  hungers  not  by 
reason  of  Tefnut.  Hapi,  Dewamutef,  Kebehsenuf,  and 
Imset  (the  four  sons  of  Horus),  they  expel  this  hunger 
which  is  in  the  body  of  king  Teti,  and  this  thirst  which  is 
in  the  lips  of  king  Teti."  l 

Finally  one  of  the  most,  if  not  the  most,  important  of 
the  numerous  sources  from  which  the  departed  Pharaoh 
hoped  to  draw  his  sustenance  in  the  realm  of  Re  was  the 
tree  of  life  in  the  mysterious  isle  in  the  midst  of  the  Field 
of  Offerings,  in  search  of  which  he  sets  out  in  company 
with  the  Morning  Star.  The  Morning  Star  is  a  gorgeous 
green  falcon,  a  Solar  divinity,  identified  with  "Horus  of 
Dewat."  He  has  four  faces,  corresponding  to  the  four 
Horuses  of  the  East,  with  whom  he  is  doubtless  also 
identified.2  We  find  him  standing  in  the  bow  of  his  celes- 
tial barque  of  seven  hundred  and  seventy  cubits  in  length, 
and  there  the  voice  addresses  him:  "Take  thou  this  king 
Pepi  with  thee  in  the  cabin  of  thy  boat.  .  .  .  Thou  takest 
this  thy  favorite  harpoon,  thy  staff  which  '"pierces1  the 
canals,  whose  points  are  the  rays  of  the  sun,  whose  barbs 
are  the  claws  of  Mafdet.  King  Pepi  cuts  off  therewith 
the  heads  of  the  adversaries,  dwelling  in  the  Field  of  Offer- 
ings, when  he  has  descended  to  the  sea..  Bow  thy  head, 
decline  thy  arms,  0  Sea!    The  children  of  Nut  are  these 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  338;  see  also  Ut.  339,  340,  400,  438.  The  charm  quoted 
above  may  be  Osirian,  in  view  of  "the  bread  of  Horus,"  but  the  dis- 
tinction between  Osirian  and  Solar  elements  is  here  of  slight  con- 
sequence. 2  Pyr.  §  1207. 


134    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

(Pepi  and  the  Morning  Star)  who  have  descended  to  thee, 
wearing  their  garlands  on  their  heads,  wearing  their  gar- 
lands at  their  throats."  Here  the  homage  of  the  sea  is 
claimed  because  Pepi  and  the  Morning  Star  are  bent  upon 
a  beneficent  errand  for  Isis  and  Horus.1  The  story  then 
proceeds:  "This  king  Pepi  opened  his  path  like  the 
fowlers,  he  exchanged  greetings  with  the  lords  of  the 
kas,  he  went  to  the  great  isle  in  the  midst  of  the  Field  of 
Offerings  over  which  the  gods  make  the  swallows  fly. 
The  swallows  are  the  Imperishable  Stars.  They  give  to 
this  king  Pepi  this  tree  of  life,  whereof  they  live,  that  ye 
(Pepi  and  the  Morning  Star)  may  at  the  same  time  live 
thereof."  2 

But  the  most  sinister  enemies  may  contrive  to  deprive 
the  king  of  the  sustenance  which  we  have  seen  to  be  so 
elaborately  provided.  They  may  even  lurk  in  his  own 
body,  especially  in  his  nostrils,  where  they  may  appro- 
priate the  food  intended  for  the  king.3  In  this  early  age, 
however,  enemies  and  dangers  in  the  hereafter  have  not 
been  multiplied  by  the  priests  as  they  were  later  in  the 
Book  of  the  Dead.  There  are  precautions  against  them, 
like  the  dread  name  received  by  the  king,  a  name  so  potent 
that  his  enemies  all  fear  it  and  flee  away.  "  Re  calls  thee 
in  this  thy  name  of  which  all  the  Glorious  are  afraid. 
Thy  terror  is  against  hearts  like  the  terror  of  Re  when  he 
rises  in  the  horizon."  4  Besides  the  name  the  dead  king 
also  receives  a  peculiar  costume  or  a  "recognizance," 
which  at  once  distinguishes  and  protects  him  against  at- 
tack from  those  who  might  mistake  him  for  an  enemy.5 

1  This  introduction  of  an  Osirian  incident  here  does  not  alter  the 
clearly  Solar  character  of  the  story,  in  which  Pepi  goes  in  search  of 
the  tree  of  life  with  the  Morning  Star,  a  Sun-god,  carrying  a  spear 
of  sunbeams.  2  Pyr.  §§  1209-16. 

*  Pyr.  §  484.  4  Pyr.  §  2025.  5  Pyr.  §§  2044,  2004. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        135 

Charms,  as  we  have  already  shown,  were  among  the  equip- 
ment furnished  by  the  Pyramid  Texts,  and  not  a  few  of 
these  are  of  a  protective  character.  The  enemy  against 
which  these  are  most  often  directed  in  the  Pyramid  Texts 
is  serpents.  It  was  of  course  natural  that  the  dead,  who 
were  buried  in  the  earth,  out  of  which  serpents  come 
forth,  should  be  especially  exposed  to  this  danger.  In  the 
case  of  the  king  also,  there  was  another  reason.  In  the 
myth  of  Re,  he  was  stung  by  a  serpent  and  forced  to  re- 
veal his  name  to  Isis.  The  departed  Pharaoh  who  is 
identified  with  Re  must  necessarily  meet  the  same  danger, 
and  from  it  he  is  protected  by  numerous  serpent  charms 
in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  In  such  charms  it  is  quite  in  ac- 
cordance with  the  Solar  tale  to  find  Re  invoked  to  exor- 
cise the  dangerous  reptile.  "O  serpent,  turn  back,  for 
Re  sees  thee"  were  words  which  came  very  naturally  to 
the  lips  of  the  Egyptian  of  this  age.1  While  all  the  great 
goddesses  of  Egypt  are  said  to  extend  their  protection 
over  the  king,  it  is  especially  the  Sky-goddess  Nut  who 
shields  him  from  all  harm.2 

The  men  in  whose  hands  the  Pyramid  Texts  grew  up 
took  the  greatest  delight  in  elaborating  and  reiterating 
in  ever  new  and  different  pictures  the  blessedness  enjoyed 
by  the  king,  thus  protected,  maintained,  and  honored  in 
the  Sun-god's  realm.  Their  imagination  flits  from  figure 
to  figure,  and  picture  to  picture,  and  allowed  to  run  like 
some  wild  tropical  plant  without  control  or  guidance, 
weaves  a  complex  fabric  of  a  thousand  hues  which  refuse 

1  Pyr.  §  226;  see  also  §  231  and  other  serpent  charms  in  Ut.  226-237, 
240,  242  et  al. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  443-7,  450-2,  484,  589,  681,  and  §  2107.  Many  of 
these  are  strongly  colored  by  Osirian  theology;  indeed  Ut.  443-7 
are  largely  Osirian,  but  the  original  character  of  Nut's  functions  in 
the  celestial  and  Solar  theology  is  clear. 


136    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

to  merge  into  one  harmonious  or  coherent  whole.  At  one 
moment  the  king  is  enthroned  in  Oriental  splendor  as  he 
was  on  earth,  at  another  he  wanders  in  the  Field  of  Rushes 
in  search  of  food;  here  he  appears  in  the  bow  of  the  Solar 
barque,  yonder  he  is  one  of  the  Imperishable  Stars  acting 
as  the  servant  of  Re.  There  is  no  endeavor  to  harmonize 
these  inconsistent  representations,  although  in  the  mass 
we  gain  a  broad  impression  of  the  eternal  felicity  of  a 
godlike  ruler,  "who  puts  his  annals  (the  record  of  his 
deeds)  among  his  people,  and  his  love  among  the  gods."  l 
"  The  king  ascends  to  the  sky  among  the  gods  dwelling  in 
the  sky.  He  stands  on  the  great  rdais^,  he  hears  (in 
judicial  session)  the  (legal)  affairs  of  men.  Re  finds  thee 
upon  the  shores  of  the  sky  in  this  lake  that  is  in  Nut  (the 
Sky-goddess).  'The  arriver  comes!'  say  the  gods.  He 
(Re)  gives  thee  his  arm  on  the  stairway  to  the  sky.  '  He 
who  knows  his  place  comes,'  say  the  gods.  O  Pure  One, 
assume  thy  throne  in  the  barque  of  Re  and  sail  thou  the 
sky.  .  .  .  Sail  thou  with  the  Imperishable  Stars,  sail  thou 
with  the  Unwearied  Stars.  Receive  thou  the  tribute1  of 
the  Evening  Barque,  become  thou  a  spirit  dwelling  in 
Dewat.  Live  thou  this  pleasant  life  which  the  lord  of 
the  horizon  lives."  2  "This  king  Pepi  goes  to  the  Field 
of  Life,  the  birthplace  of  Re  in  the  sky.  He  finds  Kebe- 
het  approaching  him  with  these  her  four  jars  with  which 
she  refreshes  the  heart  of  the  Great  God  (Re)  on  the  day 
when  he  awakes  (or  'by  day  when  he  awakes').  She 
refreshes  the  heart3  of  this  king  Pepi  therewith  to  life, 
she  purifies  him,  she  cleanses  him.  He  receives  his  pro- 
vision from  that  which  is  in  the  granary  of  the  Great  God; 

1  Pyr.  §  1160.  2  Pyr.  §§  1169-72. 

3  Confer  the  reanimation  of  the  heart  of  the  dead  Bata  by  the  use 
of  a  jar  of  water  in  the  Tale  of  the  Two  Brothers,  infra,  p.  359. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        137 

he  is  clothed  by  the  Imperishable  Stars."  l  To  Re  and 
Thoth  (the  sun  and  the  moon)  the  voice  cries:  "Take  ye 
this  king  Unis  with  you  that  he  may  eat  of  that  which  ye 
eat,  and  that  he  may  drink  of  that  which  ye  drink,  that 
he  may  live  on  that  whereon  ye  live,  that  he  may  sit  in 
that  wherein  ye  sit,  that  he  may  be  mighty  by  that 
whereby  ye  are  mighty,  that  he  may  sail  in  that  wherein 
ye  sail.  The  booth  of  king  Unis  is  plaited  (erected)  in 
the  reeds,  the  pool  of  king  Unis  is  in  the  Field  of  Offerings. 
His  offering  is  among  you,  ye  gods.  The  water  of  king 
Unis  is  wine  like  (that  of)  of  Re.  King  Unis  circles  the 
Sky  like  Re,  he  traverses  the  sky  like  Thoth."  2  The 
voice  summons  the  divine  nourishment  of  the  king:  "Bring 
the  milk  of  Isis  for  king  Teti,  the  flood  of  Nephthys,  the 
circuit  of  the  lake,  the  waves  of  the  sea,  life,  prosperity, 
health,  happiness,  bread,  beer,  clothing,  food,  that  king 
Teti  may  live  therefrom." 3  "Lo,  the  two  who  are  on  the 
throne  of  the  Great  God  (Re),  they  summon  this  king 
Pepi  to  life  and  satisfaction  forever;  they  (the  two)  are 
Prosperity  and  Health."  4  Thus  "  it  is  better  with  him 
to-day  than  yesterday,"  5  and  we  hear  the  voice  calling 
to  him:  "Ho!  King  Pepi,  pure  one!  Re  finds  thee 
standing  with  thy  mother  Nut.  She  leads  thee  in  the 
path  of  the  horizon  and  thou  makest  thy  abiding  place 
there.  How  beautiful  it  is  together  with  thy  ka  for  ever 
and  ever."  6 

Over  and  over  again  the  story  of  the  king's  translation 
to  the  sky  is  brought  before  us  with  an  indomitable  con- 
viction and  insistence  which  it  must  be  concluded  were 
thought  to  make  the  words  of  inevitable  power  and  effect. 
Condensed  into  a  paragraph  the  whole  sweep  of  the  king's 

1  Pyr.  §§  1180-2.  2  Pyr.  §§  128-130.  3  Pyr.  §  707. 

4  Pyr.  §  1190.  6  Pyr.  §  122.  6  Pyr.  §  2028. 


138     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

celestial  career  is  brought  before  us  in  a  few  swift  strokes, 
each  like  a  ray  of  sunshine  touching  for  but  an  instant 
the  prominences  of  some  far  landscape  across  which  we 
look.  Long  successions  of  such  paragraphs  crowd  one 
behind  another  like  the  waves  of  the  sea,  as  if  to  over- 
whelm and  in  their  impetuous  rush  to  bear  away  as  on  a 
flood  the  insistent  fact  of  death  and  sweep  it  to  utter 
annihilation.  It  is  difficult  to  convey  to  the  modern 
reader  the  impression  made  by  these  thousands  of  lines 
as  they  roll  on  in  victorious  disregard  of  the  invincibility 
of  death,  especially  in  those  epitomizations  of  the  king's 
celestial  career  which  are  so  frequent,  the  paragraphs  here 
under  discussion.  In  so  far  as  they  owe  their  impressive- 
ness  to  their  mere  bulk,  built  up  like  a  bulwark  against 
death,  we  can  gain  the  impression  only  by  reading  the 
whole  collection  through.  The  general  character  of  such 
individual  epitomizing  paragraphs  is  perhaps  suggested  by 
such  as  the  following.  The  voice  addresses  the  king: 
"Thy  seats  among  the  gods  abide;  Re  leans  upon  thee 
with  his  shoulder.  Thy  odor  is  as  their  odor,  thy  sweat 
is  as  the  sweat  of  the  Eighteen  Gods.  Thou  dawnest,  O 
king  Teti,  in  the  royal  hood;  thy  hand  seizes  the  sceptre, 
thy  fist  grasps  the  mace.  Stand,  O  king  Teti,  in  front  of 
the  two  palaces  of  the  South  and  the  North.  Judge  the 
gods,  (for)  thou  art  of  the  elders  who  surround  Re,  who 
are  before  the  Morning  Star.  Thou  art  born  at  thy  New 
Moons  like  the  moon.  Re  leans  upon  thee  in  the  horizon, 
O  king  Teti.  The  Imperishable  Stars  follow  thee,  the 
companions  of  Re  serve  thee,  O  king  Teti.  Thou  purifiest 
thyself,  thou  ascendest  to  Re;  the  sky  is  not  empty  of 
thee,  O  king  Teti,  forever."1  "King  Teti  purifies  himself; 
he  receives  to  himself  his  pure  seat  that  is  in  the  sky.     He 

1Pyr.  §§730-3. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        139 

abides,  the  beautiful  seats  of  king  Teti  abide.  He  re- 
ceives to  himself  his  pure  seat  that  is  in  the  barque  of 
Re.  The  sailors  who  row  Re,  they  (also)  row  king  Teti. 
The  sailors  who  carry  Re  around  behind  the  horizon,  they 
carry  (also)  king  Teti  around  behind  the  horizon."  l  "  O 
king  Neferkere!  the  mouth  of  the  earth  opens  to  thee, 
Geb  (the  Earth-god)  speaks  to  thee :  '  Thou  art  great  like  a 
king,  mighty  like  Re.'  Thou  purifiest  thyself  in  the 
Jackal-lake,  thou  cleansest  thyself  in  the  lake  of  Dewat. 
'Welcome  to  thee,'  say  the  Eighteen  Gods.  The  eastern 
door  of  the  sky  is  opened  to  thee  by  Yemen-kau;  Nut  has 
given  to  thee  her  arms,  O  king  Neferkere,  she  of  the  long 
hair  and  pendent  breasts.  She  guides  thee  to  the  sky, 
she  does  not  put  king  Neferkere  down  (again)  to  the  earth. 
She  bears  thee,  O  king  Neferkere,  like  Orion ;  she  makes 
thy  abiding  place  before  the  Double  Palace  (of  Upper  and 
Lower  Egypt  transferred  to  the  sky).  King  Neferkere 
descends  into  the  barque  like  Re,  on  the  shores  of  the 
Lily-lake.  King  Neferkere  is  rowed  by  the  Unwearied 
Stars,  he  commands  the  Imperishable  Stars."  2 

Such  in  the  main  outlines  were  the  beliefs  held  by  the 
Egyptian  of  the  Old  Kingdom  (2980-2475  B.  C.)  concern- 
ing the  Solar  hereafter.  There  can  bo  no  doubt  that  at 
some  time  they  were  a  fairly  well-defined  group,  separable 
as  a  group  from  those  of  the  Osirian  faith.  To  the  Osirian 
faith,  moreover,  they  were  opposed,  and  evidences  of 
their  incompatibility,  or  even  hostility,  have  survived. 
We  find  it  said  of  Re  that  "  he  has  not  given  him  (the  king) 
to  Osiris,  he  (the  king)  has  not  died  the  death;  he  has 
become  a  Glorious  One  in  the  horizon";3  and  still  more 
unequivocal  is  the  following:  "Re-Atum  does  not  give 
thee  to  Osiris.     He  (Osiris)  numbers  not  thy  heart,  he 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  407.  2  Pyr.  §§  2169-73.  3  Pyr.  §  350. 


140     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT       , 

gains  not  power  over  thy  heart.     Re-Atum  gives  thee 
not  to  Horus  (son  of  Osiris).     He  numbers  not  thy  heart, 
he  gains  not  power  over  thy  heart.     Osiris!  thou  hast 
not  gained  power  over  him,  thy  son  (Horus)  has  not  gained 
power  over  him.     Horus!  thou  hast  not  gained  power 
over  him,  thy  father  (Osiris)  has  not  gained  power  over 
him."  l     It  is  evident  that  to  the  devotee  of  the  Solar 
faith,  Osiris  once  represented  the  realm  and  the  dominion 
of  death,  to  which  the  follower  of  Re  was  not  delivered 
up.     In  harmony  with  this  is  the  apprehension  that  the 
entire  Osirian  group  might  enter  the  pyramid  with  evil 
intent.     As  a  great  Solar  symbol  it  was  necessary  to  pro- 
tect the  pyramid  from  the  possible  aggressions  of  Osiris, 
the  Osirian  Horus,  and  the  other  divinities  of  the  Osirian 
group.2    At  a  very  early  age  the  beliefs  of  both  the  Solar 
and  the  Osirian  religion  merged  as  we  have  seen  in  the 
first  lecture.     While  the  nucleus  of  each  group  of  myths 
is  fairly  distinguishable  from  the  other,  the  coalescence 
of  the  Solar  and  Osirian  conceptions  of  the  hereafter  has 
left  us  a  very  difficult  process  of  analysis  if  we  undertake 
to  separate  them.     There  is  a  certain  body  of  beliefs  re- 
garding the  hereafter  which  we  may  designate  as  Solar, 
and  another   group  which    are   unquestionably  Osirian, 
but  the  two  faiths  have  so  interpenetrated  each  other 
that  there  is  much  neutral  territory  which  we  cannot 
assign  to  either,  to  the  entire  exclusion  of  the  other.     It 
is  clear  that  in  the  Solar  faith  we  have  a  state  theology, 
with  all  the  splendor  and  the  prestige  of  its  royal  patrons 
behind  it;   while  in  that  of  Osiris  we  are  confronted  by  a 
religion  of  the  people,  which  made  a  strong  appeal  to  the 
individual  believer.     It  is  not  impossible  that  the  history 
of  the  early  sequence  of  these  beliefs  was  thus:    We 
1  Pyr.  §§  145-6.  2  See  above,  p.  75. 


THE  EARLIEST  CELESTIAL  HEREAFTER        141 

should  begin  with  a  primitive  belief  in  a  subterranean 
kingdom  of  the  dead  which  claimed  all  men.  As  an  ex- 
clusive privilege  of  kings  at  first,  and  then  of  the  great 
and  noble,  the  glorious  celestial  hereafter  which  we  have 
been  discussing,  finally  emerged  as  a  Solar  kingdom  of 
the  dead.  When  the  growing  prestige  of  Osiris  had  dis- 
placed the  older  mortuary  gods  (like  Anubis)  Osiris  be- 
came the  great  lord  of  the  Nether  World,  and  Osiris  and 
his  realm  entered  into  competition  with  the  Solar  and 
celestial  hereafter.  In  the  mergence  of  these  two  faiths 
we  discern  for  the  first  time  in  history  the  age-long  struggle 
between  the  state  form  of  religion  and  the  popular  faith 
of  the  masses.  It  will  be  the  purpose  of  the  next  lecture 
to  disengage  as  far  as  may  be  the  nucleus  of  the  Osirian 
teaching  of  the  after  life,  and  to  trace  the  still  undeter- 
mined course  of  its  struggle  with  the  imposing  celestial 
theology  whose  doctrine  of  the  royal  dead  we  have  been 
following. 


LECTURE  V 

THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER 

Probably  nothing  in  the  life  of  the  ancient  Nile- 
dwellers  commends  them  more  appealingly  to  our  sym- 
pathetic consideration  than  the  fact  that  when  the 
Osirian  faith  had  once  developed,  it  so  readily  caught 
the  popular  imagination  as  to  spread  rapidly  among  all 
classes.  It  thus  came  into  active  competition  with  the 
Solar  faith  of  the  court  and  state  priesthoods.  This  was 
especially  true  of  its  doctrines  of  the  after  life,  in  the  prog- 
ress of  which  we  can  discern  the  gradual  Osirianization 
of  Egyptian  religion,  and  especially  of  the  Solar  teaching 
regarding  the  hereafter. 

There  is  nothing  in  the  Osiris  myth,  nor  in  the  character 
or  later  history  of  Osiris,  to  suggest  a  celestial  hereafter. 
Indeed  clear  and  unequivocal  survivals  from  a  period 
when  he  was  hostile  to  the  celestial  and  Solar  dead  are 
still  discoverable  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  We  recall  the 
exorcisms  intended  to  restrain  Osiris  and  his  kin  from  en- 
tering the  pyramid,  a  Solar  tomb,  with  evil  intent  (p.  75). l 
Again  we  find  the  dead  king  as  a  star  in  the  sky,  thus  ad- 
dressed: "Thou  lookest  down  upon  Osiris  commanding 
the  Glorious  (=the  dead).  There  thou  standest,  being 
far  from  him,  (for)  thou  art  not  of  them  (the  dead),  thou 
belongest  not  among  them."  2  Likewise  it  is  said  of  the 
Sun-god:    "He  has  freed  king  Teti  from  Kherti,  he  has 

iPyr.  §§1266-7.  2Pyr.  §251. 

142 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      143 

not  given  him  to  Osiris."  l  It  is  perhaps  due  to  an  effort 
to  overcome  this  difficulty  that  Horus,  the  son  of  Osiris, 
is  represented  as  one  "who  puts  not  this  Pepi  over  the 
dead,  he  puts  him  among  the  gods,  he  being  divine."  2 
The  prehistoric  Osiris  faith,  probably  local  to  the  Delta, 
thus  involved  a  forbidding  hereafter  which  was  dreaded 
and  at  the  same  time  was  opposed  to  celestial  blessedness 
beyond.  To  be  sure,  the  Heliopolitan  group  of  gods,  the 
Divine  Ennead  of  that  city,  makes  Osiris  a  child  of  Nut, 
the  Sky-goddess.  But  his  father  was  the  Earth-god  Geb, 
a  very  natural  result  of  the  character  of  Osiris  as  a  Nile- 
god  and  a  spirit  of  vegetable  life,  both  of  which  in  Egyptian 
belief  came  out  of  the  earth.  Moreover,  the  celestial 
destiny  through  Nut  the  Sky-goddess  is  not  necessarily 
Osirian.  It  is  found,  along  with  the  frequent  and  non- 
Osirian  or  even  pre-Osirian  co-ordination  of  Horus  and 
Set,  associated  in  the  service  of  the  dead.3  The  appear- 
ance of  these  two  together  assisting  the  dead  cannot  be 
Osirian.4  To  be  protected  and  assisted  by  Nut,  therefore, 
does  not  necessarily  imply  that  she  is  doing  this  for  the 
dead  king,  because  he  is  identified  with  Osiris,  her  son.  It 
is  thus  probable  that  as  a  Sky-goddess  intimately  associ- 
ated with  Re,  Nut's  functions  in  the  celestial  life  here- 
after were  originally  Solar  and  at  first  not  connected  with 
the  Osirian  faith. 

When  Osiris  migrated  up  the  Nile  from  the  Delta,  we 
recall  how  he  was  identified  with  one  of  the  old  mortuary 
gods  of  the  South,  the  "First  of  the  Westerners"  (Khenti- 
Amentiu),  and  his  kingdom  was  conceived  as  situated 
in  the  West,  or  below  the  western  horizon,  where  it  merged 
into  the  Nether  World.     He  became  king  of  a  realm  of 

1  Pyr.  §  350.  2  Pyr.  §  969. 

3  Pyr.  Ut.  443.  4  See  infra,  pp.  152-3. 


144    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  dead  below  the  earth,  and  hence  his  frequent  title, 
"Lord  of  Dewat,"  the  "Nether  World,"  which  occurs 
even  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.1  It  is  as  lord  of  a  subter- 
ranean kingdom  of  the  dead  that  Osiris  later  appears.2 

1  Pyr.  §  8  d. 

2  The  situation  of  Dewat  is  a  difficult  problem.  As  the  Nile  flows 
out  of  it,  according  to  later  texts,  especially  the  Sun-hymns,  and  the 
common  designation  of  the  universe  in  the  Empire  is  "sky,  earth, 
and  Dewat,"  it  is  evident  that  it  was  later  understood  to  be  the 
Nether  World.  Such  is  the  conclusion  of  Sethe  in  his  still  unpub- 
lished Antrittsvorlesung.  See  also  Jequier,  Le  livre  de  ce  quHl  y  a 
dans  V Hades,  Paris,  1894,  especially  pp.  3-6;  also  Lefebure,  in 
Sphinx,  vol.  I,  pp.  27-46.  In  the  Pyramid  Texts  it  is  evidently  in 
the  sky  in  a  considerable  number  of  passages.  It  can  be  under- 
stood in  no  other  way  in  passages  where  it  is  parallel  with  "sky," 
like  the  following: 


Or  again: 


The  sky  conceived  thee  together  with  Orion; 
Dewat  bears  thee  together  with  Orion." 

(Pyr.  §  820=  the  same  in  Pyr.  §  1527.) 

Who  voyages  the  sky  with  Orion, 
Who  sails  Dewat  with  Osiris." 

(Pyr.  §882.) 


Similarly  "Dewat  seizes  thy  hand,  (leads  thee)  to  the  place  where 
Orion  ( =  the  sky)  (Pyr.  §  802) ;  and  Orion  and  Sothis  in  +he  "  horizon  " 
are  encircled  by  Dewat  (Pyr.  §  151).  Here  Dewat  is  in  the  horizon, 
and  likewise  we  find  the  dead  "descends  among"  the  dwellers  in 
Dewat  after  he  has  ascended  to  the  sky  (Pyr.  §  2084  c).  It  was  thus 
sufficiently  accessible  from  the  sky,  so  that  the  dead,  after  he  as- 
cended, bathed  in  the  "  lake  of  Dewat"  (Pyr.  §  1164),  and  while  in 
the  sky  he  became  a  "glorious  one  dwelling  in  Dewat"  (Pyr. 
§  1172  b).  When  he  has  climbed  the  ladder  of  Re,  Horus  and  Set 
take  him  to  Dewat  (Pyr.  §  390).  It  is  parallel  with  'kr,  where  'kr  is  a 
variant  of  Geb,  the  earth  (Pyr.  §  1014  =  §  796),  which  carries  it  down 
to  earth  again.  It  might  appear  here  that  Dewat  was  a  lower  re- 
gion of  the  sky,  in  the  vicinity  of  the  horizon,  below  which  it  also 
extended.  It  is  notable  that  in  the  Coffin  Texts  of  the  Middle 
Kingdom  there  appears  a  "lower  Dewat"  (Lacau,  Rec.  27,  218, 1.  47). 
The  deceased  says:  "My  place  is  in  the  barque  of  Re  in  the  middle 
of  lower  Dewat"  (ibid.,  1.  52).  Dewat  thus  merged  into  the  Nether 
World,  with  which  it  was  ultimately  identified,  or,  being  originally 
the  Nether  World,  it  had  its  counterpart  in  the  sky. 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      145 

As  there  was  nothing  then  in  the  myth  or  the  offices  of 
Osiris  to  carry  him  to  the  sky,  so  the  simplest  of  the 
Osirian  Utterances  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  do  not  carry 
him  thither.  There  are  as  many  varying  pictures  of  the 
Osirian  destiny  as  in  the  Solar  theology.  We  find  the 
dead  king  as  a  mere  messenger  of  Osiris  announcing  the 
prosperous  issue  and  plentiful  yield  of  the  year,  the 
harvest  year,  which  is  associated  with  Osiris.1  That 
group  of  incidents  in  the  myth  which  proves  to  be  espe- 
cially available  in  the  future  career  of  the  dead  king  is 
his  relations  with  Horus,  the  son  of  Osiris,  and  the  filial 
piety  displayed  by  the  son  toward  his  father.  We  may 
find  the  dead  king  identified  with  Horus  and  marching 
forth  in  triumph  from  Buto,  with  his  mother,  Isis,  before 
him  and  Nephthys  behind  him,  while  Upwawet  opened 
the  way  for  them.2  More  often,  however,  the  dead  king 
does  all  that  Osiris  did,  receiving  heart  and  limbs  as  did 
Osiris,3  or  becoming  Osiris  himself.  This  was  the  favorite 
belief  of  the  Osiris  faith.  The  king  became  Osiris  and 
rose  from  the  dead  as  Osiris  did.4  This  identity  began  at 
birth  and  is  described  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  with  all  the 
wonders  and  prodigies  of  a  divine  birth. 

"The  waters  of  life  that  are  in  the  sky  come; 
The  waters  of  life  that  are  in  the  earth  come. 
The  sky  burns  for  thee, 
The  earth  trembles  for  thee, 
Before  the  divine  birth. 
The  two  mountains  divide, 
The  god  becomes, 

iPyr.  §§1195#. 

2  Pyr.  §§  1089-90;  §§  1373-5.  Both  these  passages  merge  into  an 
ascension  of  Solar  character. 

3  Pyr.  §  364,  followed  by  celestial  ascent  and  association  with  Re. 

4  Pyr.  Ut.  373. 


146     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

The  god  takes  possession  of  his  body. 

The  two  mountains  divide, 

This  king  Neferkere  becomes, 

This  king  Neferkere  takes  possession  of  his  body." 

Osiris  as  Nile  is  thus  born  between  the  two  mountains  of 
the  eastern  and  western  Nile  shores,  and  in  the  same  way, 
and  as  the  same  being,  the  king  is  born.1  Hence  we  find 
the  king  appearing  elsewhere  as  the  inundation.2  It  is 
not  the  mere  assumption  of  the  form  of  Osiris,3  but  com- 
plete identity  with  him,  which  is  set  forth  in  this  doctrine 
of  the  Pyramid  Texts.  "As  he  (Osiris)  lives,  this  king 
Unis  lives;  as  he  dies  not,  this  king  Unis  dies  not;  as  he 
perishes  not,  this  king  Unis  perishes  not."  These  assev- 
erations are  repeated  over  and  over,  and  addressed  to 
every  god  in  the  Ennead,  that  each  may  be  called  upon 
to  witness  their  truth.  Osiris  himself  under  various  names 
is  adjured,  "Thy  body  is  the  body  of  this  king  Unis,  thy 
flesh  is  the  flesh  of  this  king  Unis,  thy  bones  are  the  bones 
of  this  king  Unis."  4  Thus  the  dead  king  receives  the 
throne  of  Osiris,  and  becomes,  like  him,  king  of  the  dead. 
"Ho!  king  Neferkere  (Pepi  II)!  How  beautiful  is  this! 
How  beautiful  is  this,  which  thy  father  Osiris  has  done 
for  thee!  He  has  given  thee  his  throne,  thou  rulest  those 
of  the  hidden  places  (the  dead),  thou  leadest  their  august 
ones,  all  the  glorious  ones  follow  thee."  5 

The  supreme  boon  which  this  identity  of  the  king  with 
Osiris  assured  the  dead  Pharaoh  was  the  good  offices  of 
Horus,  the  personification  of  filial  piety.     All  the  pious 

1  Pyr.  §§  2063-5.  2  Pyr.  §§  507-9. 

3  Pyr.  §  1804.  4  Pyr.  Ut.  219. 

6  Pyr.  §§  2022-3.  There  is  little  distinction  between  the  passages 
where  the  dead  king  receives  the  throne  of  Osiris,  because  identified 
with  him  and  others  in  which  he  receives  it  as  the  heir  of  Osiris. 
He  may  take  it  even  from  Horus,  heir  of  Osiris,  e.  g.,  Pyr.  Ut.  414. 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER     147 

attentions  which  Osiris  had  once  enjoyed  at  the  hands  of 
his  son  Horus  now  likewise  become  the  king's  portion. 
The  litigation  which  the  myth  recounts  at  Heliopolis  is 
successfully  met  by  the  aid  of  Horus,  as  well  as  Thoth, 
and,   like   Osiris,  the  dead  king  receives  the  predicate 
"righteous  of  voice,"  or  "justified,"  an  epithet  which  was 
later  construed  as  meaning  "triumphant."1    Over  and 
over  again  the  resurrection  of  Osiris  by  Horus,  and  the 
restoration  of  his  body,  are  likewise  affirmed  to  be  the 
king's  privilege.     "  Horus  collects  for  thee  thy  limbs  that 
he  may  put  thee  together  without  any  lack  in  thee."  2 
Horus  then  champions  his  cause,  as  he  had  done  that  of 
his  father,  till  the  dead  king  gains  the  supreme  place  as 
sovereign   of   all.     "O   Osiris    king   Teti,  arise!  Horus 
comes  that  he  may  reclaim  thee  from  the  gods.    Horus 
loves  thee,  he  has  equipped  thee  with  his  eye.  .  .  .  Horus 
has  opened  for  thee  thy  eye  that  thou  mayest  see  with  it. 
.  .  .  The  gods  .  .  .  they  love  thee.     Isis  and  Nephthys 
have  healed  thee.    Horus  is  not  far  from  thee;  thou  art 
his  ka.    Thy  face  is  gracious  unto  him.  .  .  .  Thou  hast 
received  the  word  of  Horus,  thou  art  satisfied  therewith. 
Hearken  unto  Horus,  he  has  caused  the  gods  to  serve 
thee.  .  .  .  Horus  has  found  thee  that  there  is  profit  for 
him  in  thee.     Horus  sends  up  to  thee  the  gods;   he  has 
given  them  to  thee  that  they  may  illuminate  thy  face. 
Horus  has  placed  thee  at  the  head  of  the  gods.    He  has 
caused  thee  to  take  every  crown.  .  .  .  Horus  has  seized 
for  thee  the  gods.    They  escape  not  from  thee,  from  the 
place  where  thou  hast  gone.    Horus  counts  for  thee  the 
gods.    They  retreat  not  from  thee,  from  the  place  which 
thou  hast  seized.  .  .  .  Horus  avenged  thee;    it  was  not 
long  till  he  avenged  thee.    Ho,  Osiris  king  Teti !  thou  art 
1  Pyr.  Ut.  260.    See  above,  p.  35.  2  Pyr.  §  635. 


148    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

a  mighty  god,  there  is  no  god  like  thee.  Horus  has  given 
to  thee  his  children  that  they  might  carry  thee.  He  has 
given  to  thee  all  gods  that  they  may  serve  thee,  and  thou 
have  power  over  them."  x  A  long  series  of  Utterances  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts  sets  forth  this  championship  of  the 
dead  king  as  Osiris  by  his  son  Horus.2  In  all  this  there 
is  little  or  no  trace  of  the  celestial  destiny,  or  any  indica- 
tion of  the  place  where  the  action  occurs.  Such  incidents 
and  such  Utterances  are  appropriated  from  the  Osirian 
theology  and  myth,  with  little  or  no  change.  But  the 
Osirian  doctrine  of  the  hereafter,  absorbed  into  these 
royal  mortuary  texts  by  the  priesthood  of  Heliopolis, 
could  not,  in  spite  of  its  vigorous  popularity,  resist  the 
prestige  of  the  state  (or  Solar)  theology.  Even  in  the 
Osirian  Utterances  on  the  good  offices  of  Horus  just  men- 
tioned we  twice  find  the  dead  king,  although  he  is  assumed 
to  be  Osiris,  thus  addressed:  "Thou  art  a  Glorious  One 
(Y'hwty)  in  thy  name  of  'Horizon  (Y'ht)  from  which  Re 
comes  forth.' "  3  The  Osirian  hereafter  was  thus  celestial- 
ized,  as  had  been  the  Osirian  theology  when  it  was  cor- 
related with  that  of  Heliopolis.  We  find  the  Sky-goddess 
Nut  extending  to  the  Osirian  dead  her  protection  and  the 
privilege  of  entering  her  realm.  Nut  "takes  him  to  the 
sky,  she  does  not  cast  him  down  to  the  earth."  4  The 
ancient  hymn  in  praise  of  the  Sky-goddess  embedded  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts5  has  received  an  introduction,  in  which 
the  king  as  Osiris  is  commended  to  her  protection,  and 
the  hymn  is  broken  up  by  petitions  inserted  at  intervals 
craving  a  celestial  destiny  for  the  dead  king,  although 
this  archaic  hymn  had  originally  no  demonstrable  con- 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  364.     See  also  1683-6. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  356,  357,  364,  367-372. 

3  Pyr.  §  621  =  §  636.  4  Pyr.  §  1345.  e  Pyr.  Ut.  427-435. 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      149 

nection  with  Osiris,  and  was,  as  far  as  any  indication  it 
contains  is  concerned,  written  before  the  priestly  theology 
had  made  Osiris  the  son  of  the  Sky-goddess.1     Similarly 
Anubis,    the    ancient    mortuary    god    of    Siut,    "counts 
Osiris  away  from  the  gods  belonging  to  the  earth,  to  the 
gods  dwelling  in  the  sky";2  and  we  find  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts  the  anomalous  ascent  of  Osiris  to  the  sky:    "The 
sky  thunders  (lit.  speaks),  earth  trembles,  for  fear  of  thee, 
Osiris,   when    thou   makest    ascent.     Ho,    mother   cows 
yonder!    Ho,  suckling  mothers  (cows)  yonder!    Go  ye 
behind  him,  weep  for  him,  hail  him,  acclaim  him,  when  he 
makes  ascent  and  goes  to  the  sky  among  his  brethren, 
the  gods."3    His  transition  to  the  Solar  and  celestial 
destiny  is  effected  in  one  passage  by  a  piece  of  purely 
mortuary  theologizing  which   represents   Re  as  raising 
Osiris  from  the  dead.4    Thus  is  Osiris  celestialized  until 
the  Pyramid  Texts  even  call  him  "lord  of  the  sky,"  5  and 
represent  him  as  ruling  there.     The  departed  Pharaoh  is 
ferried  over,  the  doors  of  the  sky  are  opened  for  him,  he 
passes  all  enemies  as  he  goes,  and  he  is  announced  to 
Osiris  in  the  sky  precisely  as  in  the  Solar  theology.    There 
he  is  welcomed  by  Osiris,6  and  he  joins  the  "Imperishable 
Stars,  the  followers  of  Osiris,"  7  just  as  in  the  Solar  faith. 
In  the  same  way  he  emerges  as  a  god  of  primeval  origin 
and  elemental  powers.     "Thou  bearest  the  sky  in  thy 
hand,  thou  layest  down  the  earth  with  thy  foot."  8  ^  Ce- 
lestials and  men  acclaim  the  dead,  even  "thy  wind  is  in- 
cense, thy  north  wind  is  smoke, "  9  say  they. 

While  the  Heliopolitan  priests  thus  solarized  and  celes- 

1  The  protection  and  assistance  of  Nut  are  further  elaborated  in 
Ut.  444-7  and  450-2. 

2  Pyr.  §  1523.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  337.  4  Pyr.  §  721. 

^  Pyr.  §§964,968.  °  Pyr'  !  222°* 

» Pyr.  §  749.  8  Pyr.  §  2067.  9  Pyr.  §  877. 


150     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

tialized  the  Osirian  mortuary  doctrines,  although  they 
were  essentially  terrestrial  in  origin  and  character,  these 
Solar  theologians  were  in  their  turn  unable  to  resist  the 
powerful  influence  which  the  popularity  of  the  Osirian  faith 
brought  to  bear  upon  them.  The  Pyramid  Texts  were 
eventually  Osirianized,  and  the  steady  progress  of  this 
process,  exhibiting  the  course  of  the  struggle  between  the 
Solar  faith  of  the  state  temples  and  the  popular  beliefs 
of  the  Osirian  religion  thus  discernible  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  is  one  of  the  most  remarkable  survivals  from  the 
early  world,  preserving  as  it  does  the  earliest  example  of 
such  a  spiritual  and  intellectual  conflict  between  state 
and  popular  religion.  The  dying  Sun  and  the  dying  Osi- 
ris are  here  in  competition.  With  the  people  the  human 
Osiris  makes  the  stronger  appeal,  and  even  the  wealthy 
and  subsidized  priesthoods  of  the  Solar  religion  could  not 
withstand  the  power  of  this  appeal.  What  we  have  op- 
portunity to  observe  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  is  specifically 
the  gradual  but  irresistible  intrusion  of  Osiris  into  the 
Solar  doctrines  of  the  hereafter  and  their  resulting  Osi- 
rianization. 

Even  on  his  coffin,  preserved  in  the  pyramid  sepulchre, 
the  departed  king  is  called  "Osiris,  lord  of  Dewat."  l  The 
Osirian  influence  is  superficially  evident  in  otherwise  purely 
Solar  Utterances  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  where  the  Osirian 
editor  has  inserted  the  epithet  "Osiris"  before  the  king's 
name,  so  that  we  have  "  Osiris  king  Unis,"  or  "Osiris  king 
Pepi."  2  This  was  at  first  so  mechanically  done  that  in 
the  offering  ritual  it  was  placed  only  at  the  head  of  each 
Utterance.  In  the  earliest  of  our  five  versions  of  the 
Pyramid  Texts,  that  of  Unis,  we  find  "Osiris"  inserted 
before  the  king's  name  wherever  that  name  stands  at  the 

1  Pyr.  §  8  d.  »  Pyr>  Ut<  578  and  579> 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      151 

head  of  the  Utterance,  but  not  where  it  is  found  in  the 
body  of  the  text.  Evidently  the  Osirian  editor  ran  hastily 
and  mechanically  through  the  sections,  inserting  "  Osiris " 
at  the  head  of  each  one  which  began  with  the  king's  name, 
but  not  taking  the  trouble  to  go  through  each  section 
seeking  the  king's  name  and  to  insert  "Osiris"  wherever 
necessary  in  the  body  of  the  text  also.1 

In  this  way  the  whole  Offering  Ritual  was  Osirianized 
in  Unis's  pyramid,  but  the  editor  ceased  this  process  of 
mechanical  insertion  at  the  end  of  the  ritual.  A  similar 
method  may  be  observed  where  the  same  Utterance  hap- 
pens to  be  preserved  in  two  different  pyramids,  one  ex- 
hibiting the  mechanical  insertion  of  "Osiris"  before  the 
king's  name,  while  the  other  lacks  such  editing.  This  is 
especially  significant  where  the  content  of  the  Utterances 
is  purely  Solar.2 

But  the  Osirianization  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  involves 
more  than  such  mechanical  alteration  of  externals.  We 
find  one  Utterance3  in  its  old  Solar  form,  without  a  single 
reference  to  Osiris  or  to  Osirian  doctrine,  side  by  side  with 
the  same  Utterance  in  expanded  form  filled  with  Osirian 
elements.  The  traces  of  the  Osirian  editor's  work  are  evi- 
dent throughout,  but  they  are  interestingly  demonstrable 

1  "Osiris  Unis"  occurs  in  the  body  of  the  Utterance  in  18  c  (once) 
and  30  b  (once) ;  but  the  following  references  will  show  how  regu- 
larly it  is  found  at  the  head  of  the  Utterance  and  not  in  the  body 
of  the  text  in  the  pyramid  of  Unis.  In  Ut.  45-49,  once  each  at 
beginning;  in  Ut.  72-76  and  78-79,  once  each  at  beginning;  omitted 
in  Ut.  77,  81,  and  93,  where  Unis's  name  does  not  begin  the  Utter- 
ance. In  Ut.  84,  85,  87-92,  94,  108-171,  and  199  "  Osiris-Unis " 
heads  each  Utterance.  After  Ut.  200  " Osiris-Unis"  does  not  occur 
at  all.  It  is  evident  that  this  mechanical  method  of  Osirianization 
did  not  extend  beyond  the  Offering  Ritual,  which  also  terminates 
at  this  place. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  579  and  673.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  571. 


152     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

in  a  series  of  five  stanzas  each  addressed  to  a  different  god, 
whose  name  begins  the  stanza.  The  last  stanza  of  the  five 
begins  with  two  gods'  names,  however,  the  second  being 
"Sekhem,  son  of  Osiris,"  although  in  the  apostrophe, 
which  constitutes  this  fifth  stanza,  the  two  gods  are  ad- 
dressed by  pronouns  in  the  singular  number!  It  is  evi- 
dent that,  like  the  other  four  stanzas,  the  fifth  also  began 
with  the  name  of  a  single  god,  but  that  the  Osirian  editor 
has  inserted  the  name  of  an  Osirian  god  as  a  second  name, 
forgetting  to  change  the  pronouns.1  The  insertion  is 
enhanced  in  significance  by  the  fact  that  all  five  gods 
in  these  five  stanzas  are  Solar  gods,  and  the  last  one, 
after  which  the  name  of  Osiris  was  inserted,  is  identified 
with  Re. 

The  process  was  carried  so  far  that  it  was  sometimes 
applied  to  passages  totally  at  variance  with  the  Osirian 
doctrine.  In  the  old  Solar  teaching  we  not  infrequently 
find  Horus  and  Set  side  by  side  on  an  equal  basis,  and 
both  represented  as  engaged  in  some  beneficent  act  for 
the  dead.2  Now  when  the  dead  king  is  identified  with 
Osiris,  by  the  insertion  of  the  name  "Osiris"  before  that 
of  the  king,  we  are  confronted  by  the  extraordinary  as- 
sumption that  Set  performs  pious  mortuary  offices  for  Osi- 
ris, although  the  Osiris  myth  represents  Set  as  mutilating 
the  body  of  the  dead  Osiris  and  scattering  his  limbs  far 
and  wide.  Thus  an  old  purification  ceremony  in  the  pres- 
ence of  the  gods  and  nobles  of  Heliopolis  (and  hence 
clearly  Solar)  represents  the  dead  as  cleansed  by  the 
spittle  of  Horus  and  the  spittle  of  Set.    This  ceremony 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  570. 

2  See  above,  pp.  40/.  The  best  examples  are:  Pyr.  §§204,  206, 
370,  390,  418,  473,  487,  594,  535,  601,  683,  798,  801  =  §§  1016,  823, 
848-850,  946,  971,  1148. 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      153 

had,  of  course,  nothing  to  do  with  the  Osirian  ritual,  but 
when  the  ritual  introducing  this  ceremony  was  Osirian- 
ized,  we  find  "King  Osiris,  this  Pepi"  inserted  before  the 
formula  of  purification,  thus  assuming  that  Osiris  was 
purified  by  his  arch-enemy,  the  foul  Set! l  Similarly,  Set 
may  appear  alone  in  old  Solar  Utterances  on  familiar  and 
friendly  terms  with  the  dead  king,  so  that  the  king  may 
be  addressed  thus:  "He  calls  to  thee  on  the  stairway  of 
the  sky;  thou  ascendest  to  the  god;  Set  fraternizes  with 
thee,"  even  though  the  king  has  just  been  raised  as  Osiris 
from  the  dead !  2 

The  ladder  leading  to  the  sky  was  originally  an  element 
of  the  Solar  faith.  That  it  had  nothing  to  do  with  Osiris 
is  evident,  among  other  things,  from  the  fact  that  one  ver- 
sion of  the  ladder  episode  represents  it  in  charge  of  Set.3 
The  Osirianization  of  the  ladder  episode  is  clearly  trace- 
able in  four  versions  of  it,  which  are  but  variants  of  the 
same  ancient  original.4  The  four  represent  a  period  of 
nearly  a  century,  at  least  of  some  eighty-five  years.  In 
the  oldest  form  preserved  to  us,  in  the  pyramid  of  Unis,5 
dating  from  the  middle  of  the  twenty-seventh  century, 
the  Utterance  opens  with  the  acclamation  of  the  gods  as 
Unis  ascends.  " '  How  beautiful  to  see,  how  satisfying  to 
behold,'  say  the  gods,  'when  this  god  ascends  to  the 
sky,  when  Unis  ascends  to  the  sky.  .  .  .'  The  gods  in 
the  sky  and  the  gods  on  earth  come  to  him;  they  make 
supports  for  Unis  on  their  arm.     Thou  ascendest,  O  Unis, 

1  Pyr  §§  848-850.  *  Pyr>  §  1016> 

3Pyr.  §478;  compare  also  "Set  lifts  him  (the  dead)  up"  (Pyr. 
§  1148).  In  Pyr.  §  1253  we  find  "ladder  which  carried  the  Ombite 
(Set)." 

4  Pyr.  Ut.  306  (Unis,  Mernere,  Pepi  II),  480  (Teti),  572  (Pepi, 
Mernere),  474  (Pepi). 

6  Pyr.  Ut.  306. 


154    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

to  the  sky.  Ascend  upon  it  in  this  its  name  of  '  Ladder.' 
The  sky  is  given  to  Unis,  the  earth  is  given  to  him  by 
Atum."  Such  is  the  essential  substance  of  the  Utterance.1 
The  ladder  here  barely  emerges  and  the  climber  is  the 
Pharaoh  himself,  though  Atum  is  prominent.  A  genera- 
tion later,  in  the  pyramid  of  Teti  the  ladder  is  more  de- 
veloped and  the  original  climber  is  Atum,  the  Sun-god; 
but  the  Osirian  goddesses,  Isis  and  Nephthys,  are  intro- 
duced. Finally,  in  the  pyramid  of  Pepi  I,  at  least  eighty- 
five  years  after  that  of  Unis,  the  opening  acclamation  of 
the  old  gods  as  they  behold  the  ascent  of  the  Pharaoh  is 
put  into  the  mouths  of  Isis  and  Nephthys,  and  the  climber 
has  become  Osiris.2  Thus  Osiris  has  taken  possession  of 
the  old  Solar  episode  and  appropriated  the  old  Solar  text. 
This  has  taken  place  in  spite  of  embarrassing  complica- 
tions. In  harmony  with  the  common  co-ordination  of 
Horus  and  Set  in  the  service  of  the  dead,  an  old  Solar 
doctrine  represented  them  as  assisting  him  at  the  ascent 
of  the  ladder  which  Re  and  Horus  set  up.  But  when  the 
ascending  king  becomes  Osiris,  the  editor  seems  quite  un- 
conscious of  the  incongruity,  as  Set,  the  mortal  enemy  and 
slayer  of  Osiris,  assists  him  to  reach  his  celestial  abode ! 3 
Nowhere  is  the  intrusion  of  Osiris  in  the  Pyramid  Texts 
more  striking  than  in  the  Utterances  devoted  to  the  ser- 
vices of  the  four  Eastern  Horuses  on  behalf  of  the  dead. 
A  favorite  means  of  ascension,  of  opening  the  sky-gates, 

1  The  brief  intimation  of  a  mysterious  enemy  plotting  against  the 
life  of  the  king,  appended  at  the  end  of  the  Utterance,  is  perhaps  an 
intrusive  Osirian  reference;  but  it  does  not  affect  the  clearly  celestial 
and  Solar  character  of  the  Utterance.  It  is  omitted  in  Ut.  480,  but 
appears  more  fully  developed  in  the  Osirianized  Utterances  572  and 
474,  but  in  none  of  the  Utterances  to  which  it  is  appended  is  the 
name  of  Osiris  mentioned,  while  the  epithet  which  is  employed, 
"Ymnw  (Hidden  one?)  of  the  Wild  Bull,"  is  usually  Solar. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  474.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  305. 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      155 

of  ferrying  over,  of  purification  and  the  like,  was  to  have 
all  these  things  first  done  for  each  of  the  four  Horuses  in 
succession,  and  then  by  sympathetic  inevitability  also  for 
the  dead  king.  Four  considerable  Utterances  are  built 
up  in  this  way,  each  containing  an  account  of  the  things 
done  by  each  of  the  four  Horuses,  and  then  likewise  by 
the  king.1 

In  the  oldest  form  of  these  Utterances,  as  found  in  the 
pyramid  of  Teti,  the  quartette  comprise  the  following: 

1.  Horus  of  the  Gods. 

2.  Horus  of  the  Horizon  (Harakhte). 

3.  Horus  of  the  Shesmet. 

4.  Horus  of  the  East.2 

The  exclusively  Solar  character  of  each  of  these  Ho- 
ruses is  evident  from  the  connections  in  which  they  ap- 
pear in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  while  in  the  case  of  two  of 
them  (Horus  of  the  Horizon  and  Horus  of  the  East)  the 
name  renders  it  evident.  Indeed,  in  the  Teti  pyramid 
the  four  appear  as  heralds  announcing  the  name  of  Teti 
to  the  Sun-god,  in  a  passage  which  is  hostile  to  Osiris,  and 
affirms  that  the  Sun-god  "has  not  given  him  (the  king) 

1  These  Utterances  are  325,  563,  479,  and  573.  In  Ut.  573  variant 
forms  of  their  names  appear.  In  1085-6  the  four  Horuses  appear 
ferrying  over  on  the  two  floats  of  the  sky;  they  are  found  again  in 
1105  and  in  1206,  "these  four  youths  who  stand  on  the  east  side  of 
the  sky"  bind  the  two  floats  for  Re  and  then  for  the  dead.  We 
should  doubtless  recognize  them  also  in  the  four  curly  haired  youths 
who  are  in  charge  of  the  ferry-boat  to  the  eastern  sky  in  Ut.  520. 
(But  in  Ut.  522  the  four  in  charge  of  the  ferry-boat  are  the  four 
genii,  the  "sons  of  Horus,"  and  confusion  must  be  guarded  against.) 
The  four  Horuses  in  1258  (Ut.  532),  who  are  identified  with  the 
dead  and  kept  from  decay  by  Isis  and  Nephthys,  are  treated  above. 
For  the  sake  of  completeness,  compare  the  four  children  of  Geb  in 
Pyr.  §§  1510-11,  and  especially  the  four  children  of  Atum  who  decay 
not  (Pyr.  §§2057-8),  just  as  in  1258. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  325  and  563. 


156    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

to  Osiris."  l  Two  generations  after  Teti  we  find  the  same 
four  Horuses,  unaltered,2  side  by  side  with  a  further  devel- 
opment of  the  group  exhibiting  an  intruder;  it  appears 
thus: 

1.  Horus  of  the  Gods. 

2.  Horus  of  the  East. 

3.  Horus  of  the  Shesmet. 

4.  Osiris.3 

Osiris  has  thus  pushed  his  way  into  this  Solar  group  to 
the  displacement  of  the  most  unequivocally  Solar  of  them 
all,  Horus  of  the  Horizon  (Harakhte).  The  intrusion  of 
Osiris  here  is  the  most  convincing  example  of  his  power, 
and  the  most  clearly  discernible  in  the  whole  range  of 
the  process  which  Osirianized  the  Pyramid  Texts.  We 
can  now  understand  why  it  is  that  when  the  dead  is  iden- 
tified with  the  four  Horuses,  he  is  preserved  from  decay 
by  Isis  and  Nephthys  as  the  four  Horuses  had  been  like- 
wise preserved  by  the  same  Osirian  goddesses.  When 
once  the  group  has  been  Osirianized  it  is  to  be  expected 
that  they  shall  enjoy  the  good  offices  of  the  wife  and 
sister  of  Osiris.4  The  exclusion  of  one  of  the  four  Horuses, 
by  the  intrusion  of  Osiris,  leaving  really  only  three,  is 
doubtless  the  reason  why  we  find  in  another  Osirianized 
Utterance  that  only  three  of  them  appear.5 

As  the  four  Solar  Horuses  of  the  East  were  Osirianized, 
so  in  all  probability  were  the  four  mortuary  genii,  com- 
monly known  as  the  "four  sons  of  Horus."  We  find  this 
second  four  (whom  we  shall  call  the  four  genii  to  distin- 
guish them  from  the  four  Solar  Horuses)  figuring  promi- 
nently in  the  ascension.  Indeed  they  make^the  ladder, 
which  is  a  purely  celestial  and  Solar  matter,  as  we  have 

1  Pyr.  §  348.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  563.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  479. 

4  Pyr.  Ut.  532.  6  Pyr.  §§  1132-8. 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      157 

seen  (p.  Ill),  and  they  make  it  together  with  Atum,  the 
primeval  Sun-god.  Similarly  we  find  them  all  in  a  list 
of  Solar  gods,1  and  they  appear  also  in  charge  of  the 
Solar  ferry-boat,2  in  which  they  ferry  over  the  dead.3 
The  four  Horuses  also  have  much  to  do  with  the  celes- 
tial ferry,  and  it  would  appear,  though  this  is  merely  a 
conjecture,  that  the  four  genii  are  an  artificial  creation 
parallel  with  the  four  Horuses,  and  perhaps  their  sons.4 
In  any  case  the  dead  may  be  identified  with  one  of  them 
as  with  the  four  Horuses.5  The  four  genii  were,  however, 
fully  Osirianized,  they  avenge  Osiris  and  smite  Set,6  and 
they  carry  the  body  of  the  dead  king  as  Osiris.7  In  the 
later  mortuary  ritual  of  the  Osirian  faith  they  played  a 
prominent  role,  and  are  especially  well  known  as  the  four 
genii  who  had  charge  of  the  viscera  of  the  dead,  which 
they  protect  in  the  hereafter  in  the  four  so-called  "Ca- 
nopic"  jars,  each  one  of  which  is  surmounted  by  the  head 
of  one  of  the  four  genii.  This  function  in  the  Osirian 
faith  is  foreshadowed  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  in  a  passage 
where  we  find  them  expelling  hunger  and  thirst  from  the 
belly  and  lips  of  the  dead.8 

As  the  four  Horuses  and  the  four  genii,  who  had  so 
mu  h  to  do  with  the  ascension  and  the  celestial  ferry,  were 
Osirianized,  so  eventually  was  the  ancient  Solar  ferry- 
man "Face-Behind-Him,"  who  receives  the  title  "Door- 
keeper of  Osiris"  and  the  Solar  ferry  becomes  the  prop- 

\  Pyr.  §§  147-9.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  522.  3  Pyr.  §  1092. 

4 1  am  aware  that  the  four  genii  are  called  "the  offspring  of  Horus 
of  Letopolis"  (Pyr.  §2078). 

6  Pyr.  §  1483.  6  Pyr.  Ut.  541. 

7  Pyr.  Ut.  544-6,  645,  648.  We  find  them  bringing  to  the  dead 
his  name  "Imperishable,"  at  which  time  they  are  called  the  "souls" 
of  Horus  (Pyr.  §2102). 

8  Pyr.  §  552. 


158    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

erty  of  Osiris,  to  whom  the  ferryman  is  adjured  to  say, 
"Let  this  thy  (Osiris's)  ship  be  brought  for  this  king 
Pepi."  !  The  two  floats  of  reeds  suffered  much  the  same 
fate.  These,  as  we  have  seen  (p.  108),  are  clearly  Solar  when 
they  first  appear.2  Indeed,  in  the  pyramid  of  Teti  they 
are  found  in  an  Utterance  3  explicitly  hostile  to  Osiris,  in 
which  it  is  stated  that  the  Sun-god  does  not  deliver  the 
dead  king  to  Osiris.  Nevertheless  the  reed  floats  are  also 
completely  Osirianized  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  We  find 
them  laid  down  for  Osiris,  by  the  gods  of  the  cardinal 
points,  in  an  Utterance  purely  Osirian  in  character,4  and 
within  a  century  after  they  appear  still  purely  Solar  in 
the  pyramid  of  Unis,  they  were  employed  in  that  of 
Pepi  I  for  the  crossing  of  Osiris.5 

If  the  ladder,  the  ferry-boat,  and  the  reed  floats,  the  in- 
strumentalities for  reaching  the  skies,  a  place  with  which 
Osiris  had  properly  nothing  to  do,  were  thus  early  Osirian- 
ized, we  cannot  wonder  that  the  sky  itself  and  its  deni- 
zens were  likewise  appropriated  by  Osiris  till  the  "Im- 
perishable Stars"  are  called  "followers  of  Osiris."  In  the 
same  way,  when  the  king  is  born,  like  Osiris,  as  Nile,6  we 
may  find  him  transferred  to  the  sky  and  flooding  the 
heavens  as  the  Nile  inundation;  he  makes  all  the  sky 
fresh  and  verdant.  "  King  Unis  comes  to  his  pools  that 
are  in  the  region  of  the  flood  at  the  great  inundation,  to 
the  place  of  peace  with  green  fields,  that  is  in  the  hori- 
zon. Unis  makes  the  verdure  to  flourish  in  the  two  re- 
gions of  the  horizon."  7  Finally  Osiris  is  not  only  identi- 
fied with  the  dead  king,  but  also  even  with  his  temple 
and  pyramid,8  the  great  Solar  symbol,  from  which  these 

"  Pyr.  §  1201.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  263-6.  3  Pyr.  Ut.  264. 

4  Pyr.  Ut.  303.  B  Pyr.  §  556.  6  Pyr.  §§  2063-5. 

'Pyr.  §§  508-9.  8  Pyr.  §§  1657-8. 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      159 

same  Pyramid  Texts  contain  formulae  for  exorcising  Osiris 
and  his  kin  (see  p.  75). l 

An  important  link  between  the  celestial  and  the  Osirian 
doctrine  of  the  hereafter  was  the  fact  that  the  Sun-god 
died  every  day  in  the  west.  There  was  at  Abydos,  as 
we  have  already  seen  (p.  38),  an  old  mortuary  god 
known  as  "First  of  the  Westerners/'  who  was  early  ab- 
sorbed by  Osiris,  so  that  "First  of  the  Westerners"  be- 
came an  epithet  appended  to  the  name  of  Osiris.  Before 
this  conquest  by  Osiris  took  place,  however,  the  "  First  of 
the  Westerners"  as  a  local  god  of  Abydos  had  already  be- 
come involved  in  the  celestial  hereafter.  An  ancient  Aby- 
dos offering  formulary  preserved  in  the  Pyramid  Texts 
addresses  the  dead  thus:  "The  earth  is  hacked  up  for 
thee,  the  offering  is  placed  before  thee.  Thou  goest  upon 
that  way  whereon  the  gods  go.  Turn  thee  that  thou 
mayest  see  this  offering  which  the  king  has  made  for 
thee,  which  the  First  of  the  Westerners  has  made  for 
thee.  Thou  goest  to  those  northern  gods,  the  Imperish- 
able Stars."  2  It  is  evident  that  the  First  of  the  West- 
erners is  closely  associated  with  the  celestial  hereafter  in 
this  passage.  Later,  when  Osiris  was  identified  with  the 
First  of  the  Westerners,  the  latter's  connection  with  the 
celestial  hereafter  will  have  assisted  in  celestializing  the 
Osirian  mortuary  beliefs. 

Now,  while  all  this  also  resulted  in  Osirianizing  the  ce- 
lestial and  Solar  mortuary  teachings,  they  still  remained 
celestial.  When  the  dead  Osiris  is  taken  up  by  Re,3  it 
is  evident  that  Re's  position  in  these  composite  mortuary 
doctrines  is  still  the  chief  one.  The  fact  remains,  then, 
that  the  celestial  doctrines  of  the  hereafter  dominate  the 
Pyramid  Texts  throughout,  and  the  later  subterranean 

1  Pyr.  §  §  1266-7.  2  Pyr.  Ut.  441.  3  Pyr.  §  819. 


160    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

kingdom  of  Osiris  and  Re's  voyage  through  it  are  still 
entirely  in  the  background  in  these  royal  mortuary  teach- 
ings. Among  the  people  Re  is  later,  as  it  were,  dragged 
into  the  Nether  World  to  illumine  there  the  subjects  of 
Osiris  in  his  mortuary  kingdom,  and  this  is  one  of  the 
most  convincing  evidences  of  the  power  of  Osiris  among 
the  lower  classes.  In  the  royal  and  state  temple  theology, 
Osiris  is  lifted  to  the  sky,  and  while  he  is  there  Solar- 
ized, we  have  just  shown  how  he  also  tinctures  the  Solar 
teaching  of  the  celestial  kingdom  of  the  dead  with  Osirian 
doctrines.  The  result  was  thus  inevitable  confusion,  as 
the  two  faiths  interpenetrated. 

In  both  faiths  we  recall  that  the  king  is  identified  with 
the  god,  and  hence  we  find  him  unhesitatingly  called  Osiris 
and  Re  in  the  same  passage.  The  following  extensive 
passages  well  illustrate  the  often  inextricable  confusion 
resulting  from  the  interweaving  of  these  unharmonized 
elements.  The  text  opens  with  the  resurrection  of  Osiris 
at  the  hands  of  Horus,  but  we  soon  perceive  that  this 
incident  has  been  engrafted  upon  ancient  Solar  doctrines. 
"Arise  for  me,  O  king.  Arise  for  me,  O  Osiris  king  Mer- 
nere.  I  am  he,  I  am  thy  son,  I  am  Horus.  I  come  to 
thee,  I  purify  thee,  I  make  thee  alive,  I  gather  for  thee 
thy  bones.  .  .  .  For  I  am  Horus,  thy  avenger.  I  have 
smitten  for  thee  him  who  smote  thee.  I  have  avenged 
thee,  king  Osiris  Mernere,  on  him  who  did  thee  evil.  I 
have  come  to  thee  with  a  commission  of  Heru.  He  has 
put  thee,  king  Osiris  Mernere,  upon  the  throne  of  Re- 
Atum,  that  thou  mayest  lead  the  people.  Thou  em- 
barkest  in  this  barque  of  Re,  to  which  the  gods  love  to 
descend,  in  which  they  love  to  embark,  in  which  Re  is 
rowed  to  the  horizon.  Thou  embarkest  therein  like  Re, 
thou  sittest  down  on  this  throne  of  Re  that  thou  mayest 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      161 

command  the  gods.  For  thou  art  Re  who  came  forth 
from  Nut,  who  begets  Re  every  day.  This  Mernere  is 
born  every  day  like  Re."  Then  follows  a  picture  of  en- 
thronement and  felicity  in  the  realm  of  Re,  in  which  there 
is  no  reference  to  Osiris.  It  then  proceeds:  "They  (the 
'two  great  gods  who  are  in  charge  of  the  Field  of  Rushes') 
recite  for  thee  this  chapter  which  they  recited  for  Re- 
Atum  who  shines  every  day.  They  put  this  Mernere 
upon  their  thrones  before  every  Divine  Ennead,  like  Re 
and  like  his  successor.  They  cause  this  Mernere  to  be- 
come like  Re  in  this  his  name  of  Kheprer  (Sun-god) .  Thou 
ascendest  to  them  like  Re  in  this  his  name  of  Re.  Thou 
wanderest  away  from  them  like  Re  in  this  his  name  of 
'Atum.1  The  two  Divine  Enneads  rejoice,  O  king  Osiris 
Mernere.  They  say,  'Our  brother  here  comes  to  us/  say 
the  two  Divine  Enneads  concerning  Osiris  Mernere,  0  king 
Osiris  Mernere.  'One  of  us  comes  to  us/  say  the  two 
Divine  Enneads  concerning  thee,  O  king  Osiris  Mernere. 
'The  first-born  of  his  mother !'  say  the  two  Divine  En- 
neads concerning  thee,  O  king  Osiris  Mernere.  'He  to 
whom  evil  was  done  by  his  brother  Set  comes  to  us/ 
say  the  two  Divine  Enneads.  '  But  we  shall  not  permit 
that  Set  be  delivered  from  bearing  thee  forever,  O  king 
Osiris  Mernere/  say  the  two  Divine  Enneads  concerning 
thee,  O  king  Osiris  Mernere.  Lift  thee  up,  O  king  Osiris 
Mernere.  Thou  livest."  2  It  will  be  noticed  that  the 
Osirian  passage  which  follows  so  abruptly  upon  the  Solar 
is  Osirian  in  content,  and  its  Osirian  character  does  not 
consist  in  the  simple  insertion  of  the  name  of  Osiris  be- 
fore that  of  the  king. 

1  "Ascendest"  and  "wanderest"  are  in  Egyptian  puns  on  the 
names  of  Re  and  Atum. 

2  Pyr.  Ut.  606. 


162    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Perhaps  even  worse  confusion  is  exhibited  by  the  fol- 
lowing Utterance: 

"0  this  Pepi!  Thou  hast  departed.  Thou  art  a  Glo- 
rious One,  thou  art  mighty  as  a  god,  like  the  successor  of 
Osiris.  Thy  soul  hast  thou  in  the  midst  of  thee.  Thy 
power  (or  'control')  hast  thou  behind  thee.  Thy  crown 
hast  thou  on  thy  head.  .  .  .  The  servants  of  the  god  are 
behind  thee,  the  nobles  of  the  god  are  before  thee." 

"They  recite:  'The  god  comes!  The  god  comes!  This 
Pepi  comes  upon  the  throne  of  Osiris.  This  Glorious 
One  comes,  the  Dweller  in  Nedyt,  the  mighty  one,  the 
dweller  in  Thinis  (Osiris)."' 

"Isis  speaks  to  thee,  Nephthys  greets  thee.  The  Glo- 
rious come  to  thee,  bowing  down;  they  kiss  the  earth  at 
thy  feet,  because  the  terror  of  thee,  O  this  Pepi,  is  in  the 
cities  of  Seya." 

"Thou  ascendest  to  thy  mother  Nut;  she  seizes  thy 
arm.  She  gives  to  thee  the  way  to  the  horizon,  to  the 
place  where  Re  is.  The  double  doors  of  the  sky  are 
opened  for  thee,  the  double  doors  of  Kebehu  (the  sky) 
are  opened  for  thee." 

"Thou  findest  Re  standing  (there) ;  he  greets  thee.  He 
seizes  thy  arm,  he  leads  thee  into  the  double  palace  of 
the  sky.     He  places  thee  upon  the  throne  of  Osiris." 

"Ho,  this  Pepi!  The  Horus-eye  comes  to  thee,  it  ad- 
dresses thee.  Thy  soul  that  is  among  the  gods  comes  to 
thee;  thy  power  (or  'control')  that  is  among  the  Glori- 
ous comes  to  thee.  The  son  has  avenged  his  father, 
Horus  has  avenged  Osiris.  Horus  has  avenged  Pepi  on 
his  enemies." 

"Thou  risest,  O  this  Pepi,  avenged,  equipped  as  a  god, 
endued  with  the  form  of  Osiris,  upon  the  throne  of  the 
First  of  the  Westerners.     Thou  doest  what  he  was  ac- 


THE  OSIRIANIZATION  OF  THE  HEREAFTER      163 

customed  to  do  among  the  Glorious,  the  Imperishable 
Stars/' 

"Thy  son  stands  on  thy  throne  equipped  with  thy 
form.  He  does  what  thou  wast  accustomed  to  do  for- 
merly before  the  living,  by  command  of  Re,  the  great  god. 
He  ploughs  barley,  he  ploughs  spelt,  he  presents  thee  there- 
with." 

"'Ho,  this  Pepi!  All  satisfying  life  is  given  to  thee, 
eternity  is  thine/  says  Re.  Thou  speakest  thyself;  re- 
ceive to  thee  the  form  of  the  god  wherewith  thou  shalt 
be  great  among  the  gods  who  are  in  control  of  the  lake." 

"Ho,  this  Pepi!  Thy  soul  stands  among  the  gods, 
among  the  Glorious.     The  fear  of  thee  is  on  their  hearts." 

"Ho,  this  Pepi!    This  Pepi  stands  upon  thy  throne  be- 
fore the  living.     The  terror  of  thee  is  on  their  hearts." 
;    "Thy  name  lives  upon  earth,  thy  name  grows  old  upon 
earth.    Thou  perishest  not,  thou  passest  not  away  for 
ever  and  ever."  l 

While  there  is  some  effort  here  to  correlate  the  func- 
tions of  Re  and  Osiris,  it  can  hardly  be  called  an  attempt 
at  harmonization  of  conflicting  doctrines.  This  is  prac- 
tically unknown  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  Perhaps  we  may 
regard  it  as  an  explanation  of  Osiris's  presence  in  the  sky 
when  we  find  a  reference  to  the  fact  that  "he  ascended 
...  to  the  sky  that  he  might  join  the  suite  of  Re."  2 
But  the  fact  that  both  Re  and  Osiris  appear  as  supreme 
kings  of  the  hereafter  cannot  be  reconciled,  and  such 
mutually  irreconcilable  beliefs  caused  the  Egyptian  no  more 

1  Pyr.  Ut.  422. 

2  Pyr.  §  971  e.  The  only  passage  which  may  fairly  be  called  an 
effort  to  harmonize  conflicting  doctrine  is  that  on  p.  102,  where  the 
place  of  the  Imperishable  Stars  in  the  north  is  pushed  over  toward 
the  east  to  harmonize  with  the  doctrine  of  the  eastern  sky  as  the 
place  of  the  abode  of  the  celestial  dead.     Pyr.  §  1000. 


164     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

discomfort  than  was  felt  by  any  early  civilization  in  the 
maintenance  of  a  group  of  religious  teachings  side  by 
side  with  others  involving  varying  and  totally  incon- 
sistent suppositions.  Even  Christianity  itself  has  not 
escaped  this  experience. 

There  is  a  marked  difference  between  Osiris  and  Re. 
Osiris  is  in  function  passive.  Rarely  does  he  become  an 
active  agent  on  behalf  of  the  dead  (as,  e.  g.,  in  Pyr.  Ut. 
559).  The  blessedness  of  the  Osirian  destiny  consisted 
largely  in  the  enjoyment  of  the  good  offices  of  Horus, 
who  appears  as  the  son  of  the  dead  as  soon  as  the  latter 
is  identified  with  Osiris.  On  the  other  hand,  Re  is  a  mighty 
sovereign,  often  directly  interposing  in  favor  of  the  dead, 
while  it  is  the  services  of  others  on  behalf  of  Osiris  (not 
by  Osiris)  which  the  dead  (as  Osiris)  enjoys.  Osiris  is 
a  god  of  the  dead;  Re,  on  the  other  hand,  is  the  great 
power  in  the  affairs  of  living  men,  and  there  we  behold 
his  sovereignty  expanding  and  developing  to  hold  sway 
in  a  more  exalted  realm  of  moral  values — a  realm  of  which 
we  shall  gain  the  earliest  glimpses  anywhere  vouchsafed 
us  as  we  endeavor  to  discover  more  than  the  merely  ma- 
terial agencies,  and  the  material  ends,  which  we  have 
seen  dominating  the  Egyptian  conception  of  the  here- 
after. 


LECTURE  VI 

THE  EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE — MORAL  WORTHI- 
NESS AND  THE  HEREAFTER — SCEPTICISM  AND  THE 
PROBLEM  OF  SUFFERING 

Nowhere  in  ancient  times  has  the  capacity  of  a  race 
to  control  the  material  world  been  so  fully  expressed  in 
surviving  material  remains  as  in  the  Nile  valley.  In  the 
abounding  fulness  of  their  energies  they  built  up  a  fabric 
of  material  civilization,  the  monuments  of  which  it  would 
seem  time  can  never  wholly  sweep  away.  But  the  mani- 
fold substance  of  life,  interfused  of  custom  and  tradition, 
of  individual  traits  fashioned  among  social,  economic,  and 
governmental  forces,  ever  developing  in  the  daily  opera- 
tions and  functions  of  life — all  that  made  the  stage  and 
the  setting  amid  which  necessity  for  hourly  moral  decisions 
arises — all  that  creates  the  attitude  of  the  individual  and 
impels  the  inner  man  as  he  is  called  upon  to  make  these 
decisions — all  these  constitute  an  elusive  higher  atmos- 
phere of  the  ancient  world  which  tomb  masonry  and 
pyramid  orientation  have  not  transmitted  to  us.  Save 
in  a  few  scanty  references  in  the  inscriptions  of  the  Pyra- 
mid Age,  it  has  vanished  forever;  for  even  the  inscrip- 
tions, as  we  have  seen,  are  concerned  chiefly  with  the 
material  welfare  of  the  departed  in  the  hereafter.  What 
they  disclose,  however,  is  of  unique  interest,  preserving  as 
it  does  the  earliest  chapter  in  the  moral  development  of 
man  as  known  to  us,  a  chapter  marking  perhaps  the  most 

165 


166    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

important  fundamental  step  in  the  evolution  of  civiliza- 
tion. Moreover,  these  materials  from  the  Pyramid  Age 
have  never  been  put  together,  and  in  gathering  them  to- 
gether for  these  lectures  I  have  been  not  a  little  sur- 
prised to  find  them  as  numerous  as  they  are. 

They  are,  indeed,  sufficiently  numerous,  and  so  un- 
equivocal as  to  demonstrate  the  existence  nearly  three 
thousand  years  before  Christ  of  a  keen  moral  discern- 
ment, already  so  far  developed  that  we  must  conclude  it 
had  begun  far  back  in  the  fourth  millennium  B.  C. 
Indeed  the  Egyptian  of  the  Pyramid  Age  had  already  be- 
gun to  look  back  upon  a  time  when  sin  and  strife  did  not 
exist,  to  "that  first  body"  of  "the  company  of  the  just," 
"born  before  arose,"  "strife,"  "voice,"  "blasphemy," 
"conflict,"  or  the  frightful  mutilations  inflicted  upon  each 
other  by  Horus  and  Set.1  With  this  age  of  innocence,  or 
at  least  of  righteousness  and  peace,  we  must  associate 
also  the  time  of  which  they  spoke,  "before  death  came 
forth." 2  The  development  of  moral  discernment  had 
indeed  gone  so  far  in  the  Pyramid  Age  that  the  thought 
of  the  age  was  dealing  with  the  origin  of  good  and  evil, 
the  source  of  human  traits.  We  recall  that  our  Memphite 
philosopher  and  theologian  attributed  all  these  things  to 
the  creative  word  of  his  god,  "  which  made  that  which  is 
loved  and  that  which  is  hated,"  "which  gave  life  to  the 
peaceful  and  death  to  the  guilty."  3  Akin  to  this  is  the 
emergence,  in  this  age,  of  the  earliest  abstract  term  dis-  / 
cernible  in  the  ancient  world,  the  word  for  "  truth,  right, 
righteousness,  justice,"  all  of  which  are  connoted  by  one 
word. 

Furthermore,  in  the  daily  secular  life  of  this  remote  age, 
even  in  administration,  moral  ideals  already  had  great 

1  Pyr.  §  1463.  2  Pyr.  §  1466  d.  3  See  above,  p.  45. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  167 

influence.  In  the  Feudal  Age,  a  thousand  years  after 
the  rise  of  the  Old  Kingdom,  at  the  installation  of  the 
vizier,  that  official  used  to  be  referred  to  the  example  of 
an  ancient  vizier  who  had  already  become  proverbial  in 
the  Pyramid  Age.  The  cause  of  his  enduring  reputation 
was  that  he  had  decided  a  case,  in  which  his  relatives 
were  involved,  against  his  own  kin,  no  matter  what  the 
merits  of  the  case  might  be,  lest  he  should  be  accused 
of  partial  judgment  in  favor  of  his  own  family.1  A  simi- 
lar example  of  respect  for  moral  ideals  in  high  places  is 
doubtless  to  be  recognized  in  the  Horus-name  of  king 
Userkaf  (twenty-eighth  century  B.  C).  He  called  him- 
self "Doer-of-Righteousness"  (or  Justice). 

Among  the  people  the  most  common  virtue  discernible 
by  us  is  fihaljiety.  Over  and  over  again  we  find  the 
massive  tombs  of  the  Pyramid  Age  erected  by  the  son 
for  the  departed  father,  as  well  as  a  splendid  interment 
arranged  by  the  son.2  Indeed  one  of  the  sons  of  this  age 
even  surpasses  the  example  of  all  others,  for  he  states  in  a 
passage  of  his  tomb  inscription:  "Now  I  caused  that  I 
should  be  buried  in  the  same  tomb  with  this  Zau  (his 
father),  in  order  that  I  might  be  with  him  in  the  same 
place;  not,  however,  because  I  was  not  in  a  position  to 
make  a  second  tomb;  but  I  did  this  in  order  that  I  might 
see  this  Zau  every  day,  in  order  that  I  might  be  with  him 
in  the  same  place."  3 

It  is  especially  in  the  tomb  that  such  claims  of  moral 
worthiness  are  made.  This  is  not  an  accident;  such 
claims  are  made  in  the  tomb  in  this  age  with  the  logical 
purpose  of  securing  in  the  hereafter  any  benefits  accruing 
from  such  virtues.     Thus,   on  the  base  of  a  mortuary 

1  Sethe,  Untersuchungen,  V,  99. 

2  BAR,  I,  382.  3  BAR,  I,  383. 


168    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

statue  set  up  in  a  tomb,  the  deceased  represented  by  the 
portrait  statue  says:  "I  had  these  statues  made  by  the 
sculptor  and  he  was  satisfied  with  the  pay  which  I  gave 
him."  x  The  man  very  evidently  wished  it  known  that 
his  mortuary  equipment  was  honestly  gotten.  A  nomarch 
of  the  twenty-seventh  century  B.  C.  left  the  following 
record  of  his  upright  life :  "  I  gave  bread  to  all  the  hungry 
of  the  Cerastes-Mountain  (his  domain);  I  clothed  him 
who  was  naked  therein.  I  filled  its  shores  with  large 
cattle  and  its  lowlands1  with  small  cattle.  I  satisfied  the 
wolves  of  the  mountain  and  the  fowl  of  the  sky  with 
'flesh'  of  small  cattle.  ...  I  never  oppressed  one  in  pos- 
session of  his  property  so  that  he  complained  of  me  be- 
cause of  it  to  the  god  of  my  city;  (but)  I  spake  and  told 
that  which  was  good.  Never  was  there  one  fearing  be- 
cause of  one  stronger  than  he,  so  that  he  complained 
because  of  it  to  the  god.  ...  I  was  a  benefactor  to  it 
(his  domain)  in  the  folds  of  the  cattle,  in  the  settlements 
of  the  fowlers.  ...  I  speak  no  lie,  for  I  was  one  beloved 
of  his  father,  praised  of  his  mother,  excellent  in  character 
to  his  brother,  and  amiable  to  [his  sister]."  2 

Over  and  over  these  men  of  four  thousand  five  hundred 
to  five  thousand  years  ago  affirm  their  innocence  of  evil- 
doing.  "Never  did  I  do  anything  evil  toward  any  per- 
son," 3  says  the  chief  physician  of  king  Sahure  in  the 
middle  of  the  twenty-eighth  century  before  Christ,  while 
a  priest  a  little  later  says  essentially  the  same  thing: 
"Never  have  I  done  aught  of  violence  toward  any  per- 
son." 4  A  century  later  a  citizen  of  little  or  no  rank 
places  the  following  address  to  the  living  upon  the  front 

1  Statue  in  the  Leipzig  University  Collection.  Steindorff, 
Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  48,  156. 

2  BAR,  I,  281.  3  BAR,  I,  240.  4  BAR,  I,  252. 


EMERGENCE  OF   THE  MORAL  SENSE  169 

of  his  tomb:  "0  ye  living,  who  are  upon  earth,  who  pass 
by  this  tomb  ...  let  a  mortuary  offering  of  that  which 
ye  have  come  forth  for  me,  for  I  was  one  beloved  of  the 
people.  Never  was  I  beaten  in  the  presence  of  any 
official  since  my  birth;  never  did  I  take  the  property  of 
any  man  by  violence;  I  was  a  doer  of  that  which  pleased 
all  men."  x  It  is  evident  from  such  addresses  to  the 
living  as  this  that  one  motive  for  these  affirmations  of 
estimable  character  was  the  hope  of  maintaining  the  good- 
will of  one's  surviving  neighbors,  that  they  might  present 
mortuary  offerings  of  food  and  drink  at  the  tomb. 

It  is  equally  clear  also  that  such  moral  worthiness  was 
deemed  of  value  in  the  sight  of  the  gods  and  might  in- 
fluence materially  the  happiness  of  the  dead  in  the  here- 
after. An  ethical  ordeal  awaited  those  who  had  passed 
into  the  shadow  world.  Both  the  motives  mentioned  are 
found  combined  in  a  single  address  to  the  living  on  the 
front  of  the  tomb  of  the  greatest  of  early  African  explorers, 
Harkhuf  of  Elephantine,  who  penetrated  the  Sudan  in 
the  twenty-sixth  century  B.  C.  He  says:  "I  was  .  .  . 
one  (beloved)  of  his  father,  praised  of  his  mother,  whom  all 
his  brothers  loved.  I  gave  bread  to  the  hungry,  clothing 
to  the  naked,  I  ferried  him  who  had  no  boat.  O  ye  living 
who  are  upon  earth,  [who  shall  pass  by  this  tomb  whether] 
going  down-stream  or  going  up-stream,  who  shall  say, 
'A  thousand  loaves,  a  thousand  jars  of  beer  for  the 
owner  of  this  tomb!'  I  will  intercede  for  their  sakes  in  the 
Nether  World.  I  am  a  worthy  and  equipped  Glorious 
One,  a  ritual  priest  whose  mouth  knows.  As  for  any 
man  who  shall  enter  into  (this)  tomb  as  his  mortuary 
possession,  I  will  seize  him  like  a  wild  fowl;  he  shall  be 
judged  for  it  by  the  Great  God.  I  was  one  saying  good 
1  BAR,  I,  279. 


170     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

things  and  repeating  what  was  loved.  Never  did  I  say 
aught  evil  to  a  powerful  one  against  anybody.  I  desired 
that  it  might  be  well  with  me  in  the  Great  God's  presence. 
Never  did  I  [judge  two  brothers]  in  such  a  way  that  a 
son  was  deprived  of  his  paternal  possession."  l  Here  the 
threat  of  judgment  is  not  only  used  to  deter  the  lawless 
who  might  take  possession  of  the  dead  man's  tomb,  but 
the  thought  of  that  judgment,  meaning  moral  responsi- 
bility beyond  the  grave,  is  affirmed  to  have  been  the  mo- 
tive of  the  great  explorer's  exemplary  life.  That  motive 
is  thus  carried  back  to  the  actual  course  of  his  daily, 
earthly  life  as  when  he  says:  "I  desired  that  it  might  be 
well  with  me  in  the  Great  God's  presence."  2  Through- 
out his  life,  then,  he  looked  forward  to  standing  in  that 
dread  presence  to  answer  for  the  ethical  quality  of  his 
conduct.  As  the  earliest  evidence  of  moral  responsibility 
beyond  the  tomb,  such  utterances  in  the  cemeteries  of 
the  Pyramid  Age,  nearly  five  thousand  years  ago,  are  not  a 
little  impressive.  In  other  lands,  for  over  two  thousand 
years  after  this,  good  and  bad  alike  were  consigned  to 
the  same  realm  of  the  dead,  and  no  distinction  whatever 
was  made  between  them.  It  is,  as  it  were,  an  isolated 
moral  vista  down  which  we  look,  penetrating  the  early 
gloom  as  a  shaft  of  sunshine  penetrates  the  darkness. 

It  is  of  great  importance  to  identify  these  ideas  of  a 
moral  searching  in  the  hereafter  with  one  or  the  other  of 
the  two  dominant  theologies,  that  is  with  Re  or  Osiris. 
Unfortunately  the  god  whose  judgment  is  feared  is  not 
mentioned  by  name,  but  an  epithet,  "Great  God,"  is  em- 
ployed instead.    This  is  expanded  in  one  tomb  to  "  Great 

1  BAR,  I,  328-331.  The  threat  will  also  be  found,  BAR,  I,  253 
and  338. 

2  This  statement  is  also  found  in  another  Aswan  tomb,  BAR,  I,  357. 


EMERGENCE  OF   THE  MORAL  SENSE  171 

God,  lord  of  the  sky."  l  It  is  hardly  possible  that  any 
other  than  Re  can  be  meant.  To  be  sure,  the  celestial- 
izing  of  Osiris  has  in  one  or  two  rare  instances  brought 
even  him  the  title  "lord  of  the  sky"  (see  above,  p.  149), 
but  the  unprejudiced  mind  on  hearing  the  words  "Great 
God,  lord  of  the  sky"  would  think  of  no  other  than  Re,  to 
whom  it  was  and  had  been  for  centuries  incessantly  ap- 
plied; and  this  conclusion  is  confirmed  by  all  that  we 
find  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  where,  as  we  shall  see,  Re  is 
over  and  over  again  the  lord  of  the  judgment.  It  is  he 
who  is  meant  when  Inti  of  Deshasheh  says:  "But  as  for 
all  people  who  shall  do  evil  to  this  (tomb),  who  shall  do 
anything  destructive  to  this  (tomb),  who  shall  damage 
the  writing  therein,  judgment  shall  be  had  with  them  for 
it  by  the  Great  God,  the  lord  of  judgment  in  the  place 
where  judgment  is  had."  2 

We  have  already  followed  the  elaborate  provision  for 
all  the  contingencies  of  the  hereafter  which  we  find  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts,  and  we  recall  how  indispensable  was 
the  purification  of  the  dead  at  some  point  in  his  transition 
from  the  earthly  to  the  celestial  realm.  We  stated  in 
reference  to  that  purification  that  its  significance  was  not 
exhausted  in  purely  physical  and  ceremonial  cleansing. 
That  to  some  extent  it  signified  moral  purification  is  evi- 
dent from  the  fact  that  when  the  dead  king  in  one  pas- 
sage is  washed  by  "the  Followers  of  Horus,"  "they  recite 
the  'Chapter  of  the  Just'  on  behalf  of  this  king  Pepi 
(whom  they  are  washing);  they  recite  the  ' Chapter  of 
Those  Who  Have  Ascended  to  Life  and  Satisfaction'  on 
behalf  of  this  king  Pepi."3  The  "Followers  of  Horus" 
who  perform  this  ceremony  are  of  course  Solar,  and  thus 
moral  purity  in  the  hereafter  is  associated  with  the  Sun- 

1  BAR,  I,  338.        2  Petrie,  Deshasheh,  pi.  vii.        3  Pyr.  §  921. 


172     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

god  at  the  very  beginning.  This  connection  between  the 
Sun-god  and  moral  requirements  is  clearly  recognized  in 
a  number  of  important  passages  in  the  Pyramid  Texts. 
" '  Let  him  come,  he  is  pure/  says  the  priest  of  Re  concern- 
ing king  Mernere.  The  door-keeper  of  the  sky,  he  an- 
nounces him  (Mernere)  to  these  four  gods  (the  four 
Horuses)  who  are  over  the  lake  of  Keneset.  They  recite 
(the  chapter),  'How  just  is  king  Mernere  for  his  father 
Geb!'1  They  recite  (the  chapter),  'How  just  is  king 
Mernere  for  his  father  Re!'"  2 

The  king,  then,  is  not  exempt  from  the  requirement 
which  the  tombs  of  his  nobles  disclose  them  as  so  anxious 
to  fulfil,  and  the  god  whom  he  satisfies,  as  in  the  case  of 
his  subjects,  is  Re.  "There  is  no  evil  which  king  Pepi 
has  done.  Weighty  is  this  word  in  thy  sight,  O  Re."  3 
In  a  typical  Solar  Utterance,  an  appendix  to  an  untouched 
Solar  Utterance  preceding  it,  we  find  Re's  ferryman  thus 
addressed:  "O  thou  who  ferriest  over  the  just  who  is 
without  a  ship,  ferryman  of  the  Field  of  Rushes,  king 
Merire  (Pepi)  is  just  before  the  sky  and  before  the  earth. 
King  Pepi  is  just  before  that  island  of  the  earth  to  which 
he  has  swum  and  arrived  there."  4  When  the  righteous 
king  has  safely  crossed,  he  furthermore  finds  a  Solar 
Horus  in  charge  of  the  celestial  doors,  who  presides  in 

1  The  Osirian  editor  of  the  only  other  text  of  this  Utterance  (510), 
that  of  Pepi,  has  inserted  Osiris  over  Geb  here,  and  then  incorrectly- 
added  "Pepi,"  making  "Osiris  Pepi."  The  text  thus  made  non- 
sense, viz.,  "How  just  is  king  Pepi  for  Osiris  Pepi!"  The  passage 
incidentally  furnishes  one  of  the  best  examples  of  Osirian  editing. 
That  the  text  had  nothing  to  do  with  Osiris  in  this  passage,  but  con- 
cerned solely  Geb  and  Re,  is  shown  by  the  following  context:  "His 
(the  king's)  boundaries  exist  not,  his  landmarks  are  not  found; 
while  Geb,  with  his  arm  to  the  sky  and  his  (other)  arm  to  the  earth, 
announces  king  Mernere  to  Re." 

2  Pyr.  §§  1141-2.  3  Pyr.  §  1238.  «  Pyr.  §  1188. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  173 

what  is  evidently  a  building,  of  uncertain  character,  to 
which  is  appended  the  phrase  "  of  righteousness."  x  Re 
has  two  barques  of  "Truth"  or  "Righteousness,"2  and 
we  remember  that  the  goddess  of  Truth  or  Righteousness, 
a  personification  of  one  of  the  few  abstractions  existent 
in  this  early  age,  was  a  daughter  of  Re. 

Similarly,  the  Morning  Star,  a  Solar  deity,  takes  due 
note  of  the  moral  status  of  the  dead  Pharaoh.  "Thou  (O 
Morning  Star)  makest  this  Pepi  to  sit  down  because  of 
his  righteousness  and  to  rise  up  because  of  his  reverence."  3 
Sometimes  his  guiltlessness  applies  to  matters  not  wholly 
within  the  moral  realm  from  our  modern  point  of  view. 
Having  become  the  son  of  Re,  rising  and  setting  like  Re, 
receiving  the  food  of  Horus  (son  of  Re),  ministering  to 
Re  and  rowing  Re  across  the  sky,  it  is  said  of  the  king: 
"This  Pepi  blasphemes  not  the  king,  he  defames1  not 
Bastet,  he  does  not  make  merry  in  the  sanctuary."  4 

The  moral  worthiness  of  the  deceased  must  of  course, 
in  accordance  with  the  Egyptian's  keen  legal  discernment, 
be  determined  in  legal  form  and  by  legal  process.  We 
have  seen  that  the  nobles  refer  to  the  judgment  in  their 
tombs,  and  it  would  seem  that  even  the  king  was  subject 
to  such  judgment.  Indeed  not  even  the  gods  escaped  it; 
for  it  is  stated  that  every  god  who  assists  the  Pharaoh  to 
the  sky  "shall  be  justified  before  Geb."  5  In  the  same 
way  the  punishment  of  a  refractory  god  is  "  that  he  shall 
not  ascend  to  the  house  of  Horus  that  is  in  the  sky  on 
that  day  of  the  (legal)  hearing."  6  In  a  series  of  three 
Solar  Utterances  concerning  the  two  celestial  reed  floats,7 

1  Pyr.  §  815.  2  Pyr.  §  1785>.  3  Pyr.  §  1219  a. 

4  Pyr.  Ut.  467.  Does  the  blaspheming  refer  to  Re?    For  Pepi  is 
himself  the  king! 
6  Pyr.  §  1327.  6  Pyr.  §  1027.  7  Pyr.  Ut.  263-5. 


174    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  last  one  concludes  with  a  refrain  three  times  uttered: 
"This  king  Pepi  is  justified,  this  king  Pepi  is  praised,  the 
ka  of  this  king  Pepi  is  praised."  When  we  note  that  the 
second  of  this  coherent  series  of  three  Utterances  is  anti- 
Osirian,  it  is  evident  that  the  justification  occurring  in 
this  connection  is  not  Osirian  but  Solar,  like  the  Utter- 
ance in  which  it  is  found.  This  conclusion  is  confirmed 
by  another  Solar  Utterance  on  the  two  reed  floats  which 
affirms:  "This  Pepi  is  justified,  the  ka  of  this  Pepi  is 
justified."  * 

The  translated  Pharaoh,  who  is  thus  declared  just,  con- 
tinues to  exhibit  the  same  qualities  in  the  exercise  of  the 
celestial  sovereignty  which  he  receives.  "He  judges  jus- 
tice before  Re  on  that  day  of  the  feast,  (called)  '  First  of 
the  Year/  The  sky  is  in  satisfaction,  the  earth  is  in  joy, 
having  heard  that  king  Neferkere  (Pepi  II)  has  placed 
justice  [in  the  place  of  injustice].  They  are  satisfied  who 
sit  with  king  Neferkere  in  his  court  of  justice  with  the 
just  utterance  which  came  forth  from  his  mouth."  2  It 
is  significant  that  the  king  exercises  this  just  judgment  in 
the  presence  of  Re  the  Sun-god.  Similarly  in  a  Solar 
Utterance  we  find  it  affirmed  that  "king  Unis  has  set 
justice  therein  (in  the  isle  where  he  is)  in  the  place  of 
injustice."  3 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  in  the  Old  Kingdom  the 
sovereignty  of  Re  had  resulted  in  attributing  to  him  the 
moral  requirements  laid  upon  the  dead  in  the  hereafter, 
and  that  in  the  surviving  literature  of  that  age  he  is 
chiefly  the  righteous  god  rather  than  Osiris.     Righteous- 

1  Pyr.  §  929  a.  2  Pyr.  §§  1774  a-1776  b. 

3  Pyr.  §  265.  "Justice"  in  both  these  passages  may  be  translated 
also  "truth"  or  "righteousness."  As  the  correlated  opposite  means 
"falsehood,"  it  is  perhaps  more  nearly  correct  to  render  "truth" 
and  "falsehood." 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  175 

ness  is  a  quality  which  is  associated  with  several  gods  in 
the  Old  Kingdom,  but  none  of  the  others  approaches  the 
prominence  of  Re  in  this  particular.  We  find  the  four 
genii,  the  sons  of  Horus,  who,  as  we  have  seen,  were  not 
improbably  Solar  in  origin,  though  later  Osirianized,  called 
"these  four  gods  who  live  in  righteousness,  leaning  upon 
their  sceptres,  guarding  the  Southland."  *  These  gods  are 
once  associated  with  Letopolis,2  and  it  is  perhaps  a  con- 
nected fact  that  officiating  before  Khenti-yerti  of  Letop- 
olis we  find  a  god  called  "  Expeller  of  Deceit,"  using  the 
word  for  "deceit"  which  is  correlated  with  "Truth  or 
Righteousness  "  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  as  its  opposite.3 
These  four  sons  of  Horus  are  mortuary  gods,  and  one  of 
the  old  mortuary  gods  of  Memphis,  Sokar,  possessed  a 
barque  which  was  called  the  "  Barque  of  Truth  (or  Right- 
eousness)." 4  To  this  barque  or  its  presiding  divinity  the 
dead  king  is  compared:  "The  tongue  of  this  king  Pepi 
is  (that  of)  '  The-Righteous-One  (a  god)  -Belonging-to- 
the-Barque-of -Righteousness.' "  5  The  Osirian  Horus  once 
receives  the  epithet  "the  justified"  in  the  Pyramid  Texts;6 
and  Osiris  likewise  is,  though  very  rarely,  called  "  Lord  of 
Truth  (or  Righteousness)."  7  In  connection  with  the  Osi- 
rian litigation  at  Heliopolis  three  statements  regarding 
the  legal  triumph  of  the  king  are  made  which,  because 
of  the  legal  character  of  the  victory,  may  not  be  exclu- 
sively ethical.  The  passage  says  of  the  king:  "He  is 
justified  through  that  which  he  has  done."  8  Again,  he 
"comes  forth  to  the  truth  (or  ' righteousness '  in  the 
sense  of  legal  victory),  that  he  may  take  it  with  him";9 
and  finally  the  king  "goes  forth  on  this  day  that  he  may 

1  Pyr.  §  1483.  2  Pyr.  §  2078.  3  Pyr.  §  2086. 

4  Pyr.  §  1429  c.  5  Pyr.  §  1306  c.  6  Pyr.  §  2089  a. 

7  Pyr.  §  1520  a.  8  Pyr.  §  316.  9  Pyr.  §  319. 


176    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

bring  the  truth  with  him."  l  The  later  rapid  growth  of 
ethical  teaching  in  the  Osiris  faith  and  the  assumption  of 
the  role  of  judge  by  Osiris  is  not  yet  discernible  in  the 
Pyramid  Age,  and  the  development  which  made  these 
elements  so  prominent  in  the  Middle  Kingdom  took 
place  in  the  obscure  period  after  the  close  of  the  Pyramid 
Age.  Contrary  to  the  conclusion  generally  accepted  at 
present,  it  was  the  Sun-god,  therefore,  who  was  the  ear- 
liest champion  of  moral  worthiness  and  the  great  judge 
in  the  hereafter.  A  thousand  years  later  Osiris,  as  the 
victorious  litigant  at  Heliopolis,  as  the  champion  of  the 
dead  who  had  legally  triumphed  over  all  his  enemies, 
emerged  as  the  great  moral  judge.  In  the  usurpation  of 
this  role  by  Osiris  we  have  another  evidence  of  the  irre- 
sistible process  which  Osirianized  Egyptian  religion.  To 
these  later  conditions  from  which  modern  students  have 
drawn  their  impressions,  the  current  conclusion  regarding 
the  early  moral  supremacy  of  Osiris  is  due.  The  greater 
age  of  the  Solar  faith  in  this  as  in  other  particulars  is, 
however,  perfectly  clear.2 

These  early  moral  aspirations  had  their  limitations. 
Let  us  not  forget  that  we  are  dealing  with  an  age  lying 
between  five  thousand  and  forty-five  hundred  years  ago. 
The  chief  conquests  of  man  in  this  remote  age  had  been 
gained  in  a  struggle  with  material  forces.  In  this  struggle 
he  had  issued  a  decisive  victor,  but  nevertheless  it  was 

1  Pyr.  §  323. 

2  In  my  History  of  Egypt  I  have  accepted  the  conclusion  that  the 
Osirian  litigation  at  Heliopolis  is  the  incident  in  the  career  of  Osiris 
which  resulted  in  the  introduction  of  powerful  ethical  motives  into 
Egyptian  religion.  A  further  study  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  and  the 
collection  of  all  the  data  they  contain  on  the  subject,  as  presented 
above,  demonstrate  in  my  judgment  the  incorrectness  of  this  con- 
clusion as  well  as  the  early  moral  superiority  of  the  Solar  religion. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  111 

amid  the  tangle  of  a  host  of  obscuring  influences  into  which 
we  cannot  enter  here;  it  was,  as  it  were,  through  the  dust 
of  an  engrossing  conflict  that  he  had  caught  but  faintly 
the  veiled  glory  of  the  moral  vision.  Let  us  not  imagine, 
then,  that  the  obligations  which  this  vision  imposed  were 
all-embracing  or  that  it  could  include  all  that  we  discern 
in  it.  The  requirements  of  the  great  judge  in  the  here- 
after were  not  incompatible  with  the  grossest  sensuality. 
Not  only  was  sensual  pleasure  permitted  in  the  hereafter 
as  depicted  by  the  Pyramid  Texts,  but  positive  provision 
was  made  for  supplying  it.1  The  king  is  assured  of  sen- 
sual gratification  in  the  grossest  terms,  and  we  hear  it 
said  of  him  that  he  "is  the  man  who  takes  women  from 
their  husbands  whither  he  wills  and  when  his  heart  de- 
sires." 2 

Nevertheless  that  was  a  momentous  step  which  re- 
garded felicity  after  death  as  in  any  measure  dependent 
upon  the  ethical  quality  of  the  dead  man's  earthly  life; 
and  it  must  have  been  a  deep  and  abiding  moral  con- 
sciousness which  made  even  the  divine  Pharaoh,  who  was 
above  the  mandates  of  earthly  government,  amenable  to 
the  celestial  judge  and  subject  to  moral  requirements. 
This  step  could  not  have  been  taken  at  once.  It  is  pos- 
sible that  even  in  the  brief  century  and  a  half  covered 
by  the  Pyramid  Texts  we  may  discern  some  trace  of  the 
progress  of  ethical  consciousness  as  it  was  involving  even 
the  king  in  its  imperious  demands.  We  have  already 
noted  above  the  statement  regarding  the  king,  "This 
king  Pepi  is  justified."  Now,  it  happens  that  the  Utter- 
ance in  which  this  statement  occurs  is  found  in  a  variant 

1  In  Pyr.  §  123  the  Pharaoh  is  supplied  with  a  mistress  in  the  here- 
after. 

2  Pyr.  §  510. 


178    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

form  in  the  pyramids  of  Unis  and  Teti,  two  kings  earlier 
than  Pepi.  Neither  of  these  earlier  forms  contains  this 
statement  of  justification,  and  within  a  period  of  sixty 
to  eighty  years  the  editors  deemed  it  wise  to  insert  it.1 
As  we  have  so  often  said,  it  is  not  easy  to  read  the 
spiritual  and  intellectual  progress  of  a  race  in  monuments 
so  largely  material  as  contrasted  with  literary  documents. 
It  is  easy  to  be  misled  and  to  misinterpret  the  meagre  in- 
dications furnished  by  purely  material  monuments.  Be- 
hind them  lies  a  vast  complex  of  human  forces  and  of 
human  thinking  which  for  the  most  part  eludes  us.  Never- 
theless it  is  impossible  to  contemplate  the  colossal  tombs 
of  the  Fourth  Dynasty,  so  well  known  as  the  Pyramids 
of  Gizeh,  and  to  contrast  them  with  the  comparatively 
diminutive  royal  tombs  which  follow  in  the  next  two 
dynasties,  without,  as  we  have  before  hinted,  discerning 
more  than  exclusively  political  causes  behind  this  sudden 
and  startling  change.  The  insertion  of  the  Pyramid 
Texts  themselves  during  the  last  century  and  a  half  of 
the  Pyramid  Age  is  an  evident  resort  to  less  material 
forces  enlisted  on  behalf  of  the  departed  Pharaoh  as  he 
confronted  the  shadow  world.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
Great  Pyramids  of  Gizeh  represent,  as  we  have  said  be- 
fore, the  struggle  of  titanic  material  forces  in  the  en- 
deavor by  purely  material  means  to  immortalize  the 
king's  physical  body,  enveloping  it  in  a  vast  and  impene- 
trable husk  of  masonry,  there  to  preserve  forever  all  that 
linked  the  spirit  of  the  king  to  material  life.  The  Great 
Pyramids  of  Gizeh,  while  they  are  to-day  the  most  im- 
posing surviving  witnesses  to  the  earliest  emergence  of 
organized  man  and  the  triumph  of  concerted  effort,  are 

!The  Utterances  are  263  (Unis),  264  (Teti),  and  265-6  (Pepi). 
Unis,  the  oldest  king,  died  about  2625  B.  C,  and  Pepi  I  about  2570. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  179 

likewise  the  silent  but  eloquent  expression  of  a  supreme 
endeavor  to  achieve  immortality  by  sheer  physical  force. 
For  merely  physical  reasons  such  a  colossal  struggle  with 
the  forces  of  decay  could  not  go  on  indefinitely;  with 
these  reasons  political  tendencies  too  made  common  cause; 
but  combined  with  all  these  we  must  not  fail  to  see  that 
the  mere  insertion  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  in  itself  in  the 
royal  tombs  of  the  last  century  and  a  half  of  the  Pyramid 
Age  was  an  abandonment  of  the  titanic  struggle  with  ma- 
terial forces  and  an  evident  resort  to  less  tangible  agen- 
cies. The  recognition  of  a  judgment  and  the  requirement 
of  moral  worthiness  in  the  hereafter  was  a  still  more 
momentous  step  in  the  same  direction.  It  marked  a  tran- 
sition from  reliance  on  agencies  external  to  the  personality 
of  the  dead  to  dependence  on  inner  values.  Immor- 
tality began  to  make  its  appeal  as  a  thing  achieved  in 
a  man's  own  soul.  It  was  the  beginning  of  a  shift  of 
emphasis  from  objective  advantages  to  subjective  qual- 
ities. It  meant  the  ultimate  extension  of  the  dominion 
of  God  beyond  the  limits  of  the  material  world,  that  he 
might  reign  in  the  invisible  kingdom  of  the  heart.  It 
was  thus  also  the  first  step  in  the  long  process  by  which 
the  individual  personality  begins  to  emerge  as  contrasted 
with  the  mass  of  society,  a  process  which  we  can  discern 
likewise  in  the  marvellous  portrait  sculpture  of  the  Pyra- 
mid Age.  The  vision  of  the  possibilities  of  individual 
character  had  dimly  dawned  upon  the  minds  of  these 
men  of  the  early  world;  their  own  moral  ideals  were 
passing  into  the  character  of  their  greatest  gods,  and 
with  this  supreme  achievement  the  development  of  the 
five  hundred  years  which  we  call  the  Pyramid  Age  had 
reached  its  close. 

When  Egypt  emerged  from  the  darkness  which  fol- 


180     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

lowed  the  Pyramid  Age,  and  after  a  century  and  a  half 
of  preparatory  development  reached  the  culmination  of 
the  Feudal  Age  (Twelfth  Dynasty),  about  2000  B.  C, 
the  men  of  this  classic  period  looked  back  upon  a  struggle 
of  their  ancestors  with  death— a  struggle  whose  visible 
monuments  were  distributed  along  a  period  of  fifteen  hun- 
dred years.  The  first  five  hundred  years  of  this  struggle 
was  still  represented  by  the  tombs  of  the  first  two  dynas- 
ties in  Abydos  and  vicinity,  but  it  was  veiled  in  mist, 
and  to  the  men  of  the  Feudal  Age  its  monuments  were 
mingled  with  the  memorials  of  the  gods  who  once  ruled 
Egypt.  Of  the  thousand  years  which  had  elapsed  since 
the  Pyramid  Age  began,  the  first  five  hundred  was  im- 
pressively embodied  before  their  eyes  in  that  sixty-mile 
rampart  of  pyramids  sweeping  along  the  margin  of  the 
western  desert.  There  they  stretched  like  a  line  of  silent 
outposts  on  the  frontiers  of  death.  It  was  a  thousand 
years  since  the  first  of  them  had  been  built,  and  five  hun- 
dred years  had  elapsed  since  the  architects  had  rolled 
up  their  papyrus  drawings  of  the  latest,  and  the  last 
group  of  workmen  had  gathered  up  their  tools  and  de- 
parted. The  priesthoods  too,  left  without  support,  had, 
as  we  have  already  seen,  long  forsaken  the  sumptuous 
temples  and  monumental  approaches  that  rose  on  the 
valley  side.  The  sixty-mile  pyramid  cemetery  lay  in 
silent  desolation,  deeply  encumbered  with  sand  half  hid- 
ing the  ruins  of  massive  architecture,  of  fallen  architraves 
and  prostrate  colonnades,  a  solitary  waste  where  only 
the  slinking  figure  of  the  vanishing  jackal  suggested  the 
futile  protection  of  the  old  mortuary  gods  of  the  desert. 
Even  at  the  present  day  no  such  imposing  spectacle  as 
the  pyramid  cemeteries  of  Egypt  is  to  be  found  any- 
where in  the  ancient  world,  and  we  easily  recall  something 


EMERGENCE  OF   THE  MORAL  SENSE  181 

of  the  reverential  awe  with  which  they  oppressed  us 
when  we  first  looked  upon  them.  Do  we  ever  realize 
that  this  impression  was  felt  by  their  descendants  only 
a  few  centuries  after  the  builders  had  passed  away?  and 
that  they  were  already  ancient  to  the  men  of  2000  B.  C? 
On  the  minds  of  the  men  of  the  Feudal  Age  the  Pyramid 
cemetery  made  a  profound  impression.  If  already  in  the 
Pyramid  Age  there  had  been  some  relaxation  in  the  con- 
viction that  by  sheer  material  force  man  might  make  con- 
quest of  immortality,  the  spectacle  of  these  colossal  ruins 
now  quickened  such  doubts  into  open  scepticism,  a 
scepticism  which  ere  long  found  effective  literary  ex- 
pression. 

Discernment  of  moral  requirements  had  involved  sub- 
jective contemplation.  For  the  first  time  in  history  man 
began  to  contemplate  himself  as  well  as  his  destiny,  to 
"expatiate  free  o'er  all  this  scene  of  man."  It  is  a  ripe 
age  which  in  so  doing  has  passed  beyond  the  unquestion- 
ing acceptance  of  traditional  beliefs  as  bequeathed  by 
the  fathers.  Scepticism  means  a  long  experience  with 
inherited  beliefs,  much  rumination  on  what  has  hereto- 
fore received  unthinking  acquiescence,  a  conscious  recog- 
nition of  personal  power  to  believe  or  disbelieve,  and  thus 
a  distinct  step  forward  in  the  development  of  self-con- 
sciousness and  personal  initiative.  It  is  only  a  people  of 
ripe  civilization  who  develop  scepticism.  It  is  never 
found  under  primitive  conditions.  It  was  a  momentous 
thousand  years  of  intellectual  progress,  therefore,  of  which 
these  sceptics  of  the  Feudal  Age  represented  the  culmina- 
tion. Their  mental  attitude  finds  expression  in  a  song 
of  mourning,  doubtless  often  repeated  in  the  cemetery, 
and  as  we  follow  the  lines  we  might  conclude  that  the 
author  had  certainly  stood  on  some  elevated  point  over- 


182     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

looking  the  pyramid  cemetery  of  the  Old  Kingdom  as  he 
wrote  them.  We  possess  two  fragmentary  versions  of 
the  song,  one  on  papyrus,  the  other  on  the  walls  of  a 
Theban  tomb.1  But  the  papyrus  version  was  also  copied 
from  a  tomb,  for  the  superscription  reads:  "Song  which 
is  in  the  house  (tomb-chapel)  of  king  Intef  2  the  justified, 
which  is  in  front  of  the  singer  with  the  harp."  The  song 
reads: 

"How  prosperous  is  this  good  prince! 3 
It  is  a  goodly  destiny,  that  the  bodies  diminish, 
Passing  away  while  others  remain, 
Since  the  time  of  the  ancestors, 
The  gods  who  were  aforetime, 
Who  rest  in  their  pyramids, 
Nobles  and  the  glorious  departed  likewise, 
Entombed  in  their  pyramids. 
Those  who  built  their  (tomb)-temples, 
Their  place  is  no  more. 
Behold  what  is  done  therein. 
I  have  heard  the  words  of  Imhotep  and  Hardedef, 4 

1  They  have  been  edited  by  W.  M.  Mueller  in  his  Liebespoesie. 
The  first  version  is  found  among  the  love-songs  of  Papyrus  Harris, 
500,  in  the  British  Museum,  pi.  vi,  1.  2,  to  pi.  vii,  1.  3  (part  of  a 
duplicate  on  a  fragment  of  tomb  wall  in  Leyden).  See  Mueller, 
pis.  xii-xv.  The  other  version  is  in  the  tomb  of  Neferhotep,  Muel- 
ler, pi.  i.     For  the  older  publications  see  Mueller. 

2  This  is  one  of  the  Eleventh  Dynasty  Intefs. 

3  Meaning  the  dead  king  in  whose  tomb  the  song  was  written. 

4  Imhotep  was  grand  vizier,  chief  architect,  and  famous  wise  man 
under  king  Zoser  of  the  Third  Dynasty  (thirtieth  century  B.  C). 
He  was  the  first  great  architect  in  stone-masonry  construction,  the 
father  of  stone  architecture.  The  futility  of  the  massive  building 
methods  which  he  introduced  is  thus  brought  out  with  double 
effectiveness.  He  has  not  escaped  the  fate  of  all  the  rest  in  the  Old 
Kingdom  cemetery.  Hardedef  was  a  royal  prince,  son  of  Khufu  of 
Gizeh,  and  hence  connected  with  the  greatest  pyramid.  He  lived 
about  a  century  after  Imhotep.  Both  of  them  had  thus  become 
proverbial  wise  men  a  thousand  years  after  they  had  passed  away. 


EMERGENCE  OF   THE  MORAL  SENSE  183 

(Words)  greatly  celebrated  as  their  utterances. 
Behold  the  places  thereof; 
Their  walls  are  dismantled, 
Their  places  are  no  more, 
As  if  they  had  never  been. 

"None  cometh  from  thence 
That  he  may  tell  (us)  how  they  fare; 
That  he  may  tell  (us)  of  their  fortunes, 
That  he  may  content  our  heart, 
Until  we  (too)  depart 
To  the  place  whither  they  have  gone. 

"Encourage  thy  heart  to  forget  it, 
Making  it  pleasant  for  thee  to  follow  thy  desire, 
While  thou  livest. 
Put  myrrh  upon  thy  head, 
And  garments  on  thee  of  fine  linen, 
Imbued  with  marvellous  luxuries, 
The  genuine  things  of  the  gods. 

"Increase  yet  more  thy  delights, 
And  let  [not]  thy  heart  languish. 
Follow  thy  desire  and  thy  good, 
Fashion  thine  affairs  on  earth 
After  the  mandates  of  thine  (own)  heart. 
(Till)  that  day  of  lamentation  cometh  to  thee, 
When  the  silent-hearted  hears  not  their  lamentation, 
Nor  he  that  is  in  the  tomb  attends  the  mourning. 

"Celebrate  the  glad  day, 
Be  not  weary  therein. 
Lo,  no  man  taketh  his  goods  with  him. 
Yea,  none  returneth  again  that  is  gone  thither." 

Such  were  the  feelings  of  some  of  these  men  of  the  Feudal 
Age  as  they  looked  out  over  the  tombs  of  their  ancestors 
and  contemplated  the  colossal  futility  of  the  vast  pyramid 


184    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

cemeteries  of  the  Old  Kingdom.  Even  the  names  of 
some  of  the  wise  men  of  a  thousand  years  before,  whose 
sayings  had  become  proverbial,  and  who  thus  had  attained 
more  than  a  sepulchral  immortality  in  some  colossal  tomb, 
arose  in  the  recollection  of  the  singer.  It  can  hardly  be 
a  matter  of  chance  that  Imhotep,  the  first  of  the  two 
whom  the  singer  commemorates,  was  the  earliest  archi- 
tect in  stone  masonry  on  a  large  scale,  the  father  of  archi- 
tecture in  stone.  As  the  architect  of  king  Zoser  of  the 
thirtieth  century  B.  C,  he  was  the  builder  of  the  oldest 
superstructure  of  stone  masonry  still  surviving  from  the 
ancient  world,  the  so-called  "terraced  pyramid"  of  Sak- 
kara.  It  was  a  peculiarly  effective  stroke  to  revert  to 
the  tomb  of  this  first  great  architect,  and  to  find  it  in  such 
a  state  of  ruin  that  the  places  thereof  were  "  as  if  they  had 
never  been."  Indeed,  to  this  day  its  place  is  unknown. 
Hardedef,  too,  the  other  wise  man  whom  the  poem  re- 
calls, was  a  son  of  Khufu,  and  therefore  connected  with 
the  greatest  of  the  pyramids.  The  fact,  too,  that  these 
two  ancient  sages  had  survived  only  in  their  wise  sayings 
was  another  illustration  of  the  futility  of  material  agen- 
cies as  a  means  of  immortality.  At  the  same  time  the 
disappearance  of  such  souls  as  these  to  a  realm  where 
they  could  no  longer  be  discerned,  whence  none  returned 
to  tell  of  their  fate,  strikes  the  sombrest  and  most  wistful 
note  in  all  these  lines.  It  is  a  note  of  which  we  seem  to 
hear  an  echo  in  the  East  three  thousand  years  later  in 
the  lines  of  Omar  Khayyam: 

"  Strange,  is  it  not  ?  that  of  the  myriads  who 
Before  us  passed  the  door  of  Darkness  through, 
Not  one  returns  to  tell  us  of  the  Road 
Which  to  discover  we  must  travel  too."  x 

1  Fitzgerald,  Rubaiyat,  64. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  185 

Here  is  bared  a  scepticism  which  doubts  all  means, 
material  or  otherwise,  for  attaining  felicity  or  even  sur- 
vival beyond  the  grave.  To  such  doubts  there  is  no 
answer;  there  is  only  a  means  of  sweeping  them  tempo- 
rarily aside,  a  means  to  be  found  in  sensual  gratification 
which  drowns  such  doubts  in  forgetfulness.  "Eat,  drink, 
and  be  merry,  for  to-morrow  we  die." 

The  other  version  of  the  song,  from  the  tomb  of  the 
"  divine  father  (priest)  of  Amon,  Neferhotep,"  at  Thebes, 
is  hardly  as  effective  as  the  first,  and  unhappily  is  very 
fragmentary.  It  contains,  however,  some  valuable  lines 
which  should  not  be  overlooked. 


"How  rests  this  just  prince  I 
The  goodly  destiny  befalls, 
The  bodies  pass  away 
Since  the  time  of  the  god, 
And  generations  come  into  their  places. 

"Re  shows  himself  at  early  morn, 
Atum  goes  to  rest  in  Manu.1 
Men  beget  and  women  conceive, 
Every  nostril  breathes  the  air. 
Morning  comes,  they  bear  numerously, 
They  (the  new-born)  come  to  their  (appointed)  places. 

"Celebrate  the  glad  day,  O  divine  father. 
Put  the  finest  spices  together  at  thy  nose, 
Garlands  of  lotus  flowers  at  thy  shoulder,  at  thy  neck. 
Thy  sister  who  dwells  in  thy  heart, 
She  sits  at  thy  side. 
Put  song  and  music  before  thee, 
Behind  thee  all  evil  things, 
And  remember  thou  (only)  joy. 

1  These  two  lines  merely  recall  the  ceaseless  rising  and  setting  of 
the  sun.     Manu  is  the  mountain  of  the  west. 


186     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Till  comes  that  day  of  mooring, 
At  the  land  that  loveth  silence, 


(Where)  the  heart  is  quiet 
Of  the  son  whom  he  loves. 


"Celebrate  the  glad  day,  O  Neferhotep,  justified,  divine  father, 
Excellent  and  pure  of  hands. 
I  have  heard  all  that  befell 
Those  .  .  . 

Their  houses  are  dismantled, 
The  place  of  them  is  no  more, 
They  are  as  if  they  had  never  been, 
Since  the  time  of  the  god, 
Those  lords  .  .  . 

"[Wilt  thou  plant  for  thee  pleasant  trees] 1 
Upon  the  shore  of  thy  pool, 
That  thy  soul  may  sit  under  them, 
That  he  may  drink  their  water? 
Follow  thy  desire  wholly, 


Give  bread  to  him  who  hath  no  field. 
So  shalt  thou  gain  a  good  name 
For  the  future  forever. 2 


"Thou  hast  seen  [rthe  tombs  of  the  great1] 
[rWhere  priests  offer,  wearing  skins  of1]  the  panther; 
Their  libation  vessels  are  on  the  ground, 
And  their  bread  of  their  food-offerings. 

1  As  Mueller  has  noticed,  there  was  some  reference  to  the  well- 
known  mortuary  grove  in  this  lacuna;  he  refers  to  Maspero,  in 
Recueil  de  travaux,  II,  pp.  105-7;  Rouge,  Inscr.  hierogl.,  CV;  Mem. 
Miss,  franc.,  V,  300,  330.  But  I  cannot  agree  with  Mueller  in 
making  it  an  injunction  to  equip  the  futile  tomb  with  a  grove 
equally  futile,  and  supposing  it  to  be  an  insertion  by  a  later  orthodox 
scribe.     This  can  be  avoided  by  making  it  a  question. 

2  While  a  tomb  and  the  grove  attached  to  it  are  fruitless  trouble, 
moral  worthiness,  kindness  to  the  poor,  and  the  resulting  good  name 
shall  endure. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  187 

Songstresses  [weep1  .  .  . 

Their  mummies  are  set  up  before  Re, 

Their  people  are  in  lamentation  without  (ceasing). 

(.  .  .  comes  in  her  season; 
Fate  numbers  his  days. 
Thou  hast  waked  .  .   . 


The  song  continues  with  reflections  on  the  vanity  of 
riches,  as  if  in  expansion  of  the  single  line  in  the  other 
version  referring  to  the  fact  that  no  man  may  take  his 
goods  with  him  when  he  departs.  Wealth  is  fruitless,  for 
the  same  fate  has  overtaken 

"Those  who  had  granaries, 
Besides  bread  for  offerings, 
And  those  [who  had  none]  likewise." 

Hence  the  rich  man  is  admonished: 

"Remember  thou  the  day 
When  thou  art  dragged 
To  the  land  of  .  .  . 
[Follow  thy  desire]  wholly. 
There  is  none  that  returns  again."  * 

It  is  evident  that  the  men  of  this  age  were  reflecting 
deeply  on  the  human  state.  The  singer  of  this  second 
version  finds  no  hope  in  the  contemplation  of  death,  but 
suggests  that  it  is  well  in  any  case  to  leave  an  enduring 
good  name  behind;  not  because  it  necessarily  insures  the 
good  man  anything  in  the  world  to  come,  but  rather  that 
it  may  abide  in  the  minds  of  those  who  remain  behind. 
Indeed,  the  obligation  to  a  moral  life  imposed  by  the 

1  The  upper  ends  of  the  remaining  six  lines  are  too  fragmentary  to 
yield  any  certain  or  connected  sense. 


188    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Great  God"  whose  judgment  is  yet  to  come,  as  well 
as  the  benefits  in  the  world  of  the  dead,  resulting  from 
the  fulfilment  of  this  obligation,  play  no  part  in  this 
sceptic's  thought.  The  gods  are  largely  ignored.  The 
only  one  mentioned  is  the  Sun-god,  who  appears  even 
in  connection  with  the  mummy,  where  we  should  have 
expected  the  appearance  of  Osiris.  Self-indulgence  and 
a  good  name  on  earth  hereafter  may  be  said  to  summarize 
the  teaching  of  these  sceptics,  who  have  cast  away  the 
teaching  of  the  fathers. 

Nevertheless  there  were  those  who  rejected  even  these 
admonitions  as  but  a  superficial  solution  of  the  dark  prob- 
lem of  life.  Suppose  that  the  good  name  be  innocently 
and  unjustly  forfeited,  and  the  opportunities  for  self-in- 
dulgence cut  off  by  disease  and  misfortune.  It  is  exactly 
this  situation  which  is  presented  to  us  in  one  of  the  most 
remarkable  documents  surviving  from  this  remote  age. 
We  may  term  it  "The  Dialogue  of  a  Misanthrope  with 
his  Own  Soul,"  though  no  ancient  title  has  survived.  The 
general  subject  is  the  despair  resulting  from  the  situation 
mentioned,  a  despair  which  turns  to  death  as  the  only 
escape.  It  is  perhaps  hardly  necessary  to  call  attention 
to  the  remarkable  choice  of  such  a  subject  in  so  remote 
an  age,  a  subject  which  is  essentially  a  state  of  mind,  the 
inner  experience  of  an  unjust  sufferer.  It  is  our  earliest 
Book  of  Job,  written  some  fifteen  hundred  years  before  a 
similar  experience  brought  forth  a  similar  book  among 
the  Hebrews. 

The  introduction  narrating  the  circumstances  which 
brought  about  this  spiritual  convulsion  is  unhappily  lost.1 
The  prologue  of  the  book  is  therefore  lacking,  but  some 

1  The  document  is  a  papyrus  of  the  Middle  Kingdom  in  Berlin 
(P.  3024).     It  was  first  published  by  Lepsius  over  fifty  years  ago 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  189 

of  the  facts  which  It  must  have  contained,  setting  forth 
the  reasons  for  the  reflections  offered  by  the  book,  can 
be  drawn  from  these  reflections  themselves.  Our  unfort- 
unate (we  never  learn  his  name)  was  a  man  of  gentle 
spirit  who  nevertheless  was  overtaken  by  blighting  mis- 
fortunes. He  fell  sick  only  to  be  forsaken  by  his  friends, 
and  even  by  his  brothers,  who  should  have  cared  for  him 
in  his  illness.  No  one  proved  faithful  to  him,  and  in  the 
midst  of  his  distress  his  neighbors  robbed  him.  The  good 
that  he  had  done  yesterday  was  not  remembered,  and 
although  a  wise  man,  he  was  repelled  when  he  would 
have  plead  his  cause.  He  was  unjustly  condemned,  and 
his  name,  which  should  have  been  revered,  became  a 
stench  in  the  nostrils  of  men. 

At  this  juncture,  when  in  darkness  and  despair  he  de- 
termines to  take  his  own  life,  the  document  as  preserved 
to  us  begins.  Then,  as  he  stands  on  the  brink  of  the 
grave,  his  soul  shrinks  back  from  the  darkness  in  horror 
and  refuses  to  accompany  him.  In  a  long  dialogue  which 
now  sets  in,  we  discern  the  unfortunate  man  discoursing 
with  himself,  and  conversing  with  his  soul  as  with  an- 
other person.  The  first  reason  for  his  soul's  unwilling- 
ness is  apprehension  lest  there  should  be  no  tomb  in  which 
to  dwell  after  death.  This,  at  first,  seems  strange  enough 
in  view  of  the  scepticism  with  which  such  material  prep- 
aration for  death  was  viewed  by  just  such  men  as  our 
unfortunate  proved  himself  to  be.  We  soon  discover, 
however,  that  this,  like  another  which  follows,  was  but 
a  literary  device  intended  to  offer  opportunity  for  ex- 

(Denkmaeler,  VI,  Taf .,  111-112) .  Its  content  is  so  difficult  that  it  re- 
mained unintelligible  until  republished  by  Erman  in  1896,  "Ge- 
spraech  eines  Lebensmueden  mit  seiner  Seele,"  Abhandl.  der  koenigl. 
Preuss.  Akad.,  Berlin,  1896.  From  Erman's  treatise  the  above 
presentation  draws  substantially. 


190    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

posing  the  utter  futility  of  all  such  preparations.  It 
would  seem  that  the  soul  itself  had  before  advised  death 
by  fire;  but  that  it  had  then  itself  shrunk  back  from  this 
terrible  end.  As  there  would  be  no  surviving  friend  or 
relative  to  stand  at  the  bier  and  carry  out  the  mortuary 
ceremonies,  the  misanthrope  then  proceeded  to  adjure 
his  own  soul  to  undertake  this  office.  The  soul,  however, 
now  refuses  death  in  any  form  and  paints  the  terrors  of 
the  tomb.  "My  soul  opened  its  mouth  and  answered 
what  I  had  said:  'If  thou  rememberest  burial  it  is  mourn- 
ing, it  is  a  bringer  of  tears,  saddening  a  man;  it  is  taking 
a  man  from  his  house  and  casting  him  upon  the  height 
(the  cemetery  plateau).  Thou  ascendest  not  up  that 
thou  mayest  see  the  sun.  Those  who  build  in  red  gran- 
ite, who  erect  the  ^sepulchre1  in  the  pyramid,  those  beau- 
tiful in  this  beautiful  structure,  rwho  have  become  like1 
gods,  the  offering-tables  thereof  are  as  empty  as  (those  of) 
these  weary  ones  who  die  on  the  dike  without  a  sur- 
vivor, (when  as  he  lies  half  immersed  on  the  shore)  the 
flood  has  taken  (one)  end  of  him,  the  heat  likewise;  those 
to  whom  the  fish  along  the  shore  speak  (as  they  devour 
the  body).  Hearken  to  me — lo,  it  is  good  for  men  to 
hearken — follow  the  glad  day  and  forget  care. ' "  l 

This  then  is  the  reply  of  the  soul  when  the  conventional 
view  of  death  has  been  held  up  before  it.  The  misan- 
thrope has  affirmed  that  he  is  fortunate  "who  is  in  his 
pyramid  over  whose  coffin  a  survivor  has  stood, "  and  he 
has  besought  his  soul  to  be  the  one  "who  shall  be  my 
^burier,1  who  shall  make  offering,  who  shall  stand  at  the 
tomb  on  the  day  of  burial,  that  he  may  'prepare1  the 
bed  in  the  cemetery."  2  But  like  the  harper  in  the  two 
songs  we  have  read,  his  soul  remembers  the  dismantled 

1  Misanthrope,  11.  56-68.  2  Ibid.,  11.  52-55. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  191 

tombs  of  the  great,  whose  offering-tables  are  as  empty 
as  those  of  the  wretched  serfs  dying  like  flies  among  the 
public  works,  along  the  vast  irrigation  dikes,  and  who 
lie  there  exposed  to  heat  and  devouring  fish  as  they  await 
burial.  There  is  but  one  solution:  to  live  on  in  forget- 
fulness  of  sorrow  and  drown  it  all  in  pleasure. 

Up  to  this  point  the  Dialogue,  with  its  philosophy  of 
"Eat,  drink,  and  be  merry,  for  to-morrow  we  die,"  has 
gone  no  further  than  the  Song  of  the  Harper.  It  now  pro- 
ceeds to  a  momentous  conclusion,  going  far  beyond  that 
song.  It  undertakes  to  demonstrate  that  life,  far  from 
being  an  opportunity  for  pleasure  and  unbridled  indul- 
gence, is  more  intolerable  than  death.  The  demonstra- 
tion is  contained  in  four  poems  which  the  unhappy  man 
addresses  to  his  own  soul.  These  constitute  the  second 
half  of  the  document,1  and  are  fortunately  much  more  in- 
telligible than  the  first  half.2  The  first  poem  portrays  the 
unjust  abhorrence  in  which  our  unfortunate's  name  is 
held  by  the  world.  Each  three-line  strophe  begins  with 
the  refrain,  "My  name  is  abhorred,"  and  then,  to  enforce 
this  statement,  adduces  for  comparison  some  detestible 
thing  from  the  daily  life  of  the  people,  especially  the  no- 
torious stench  of  fish  and  fowl  so  common  in  the  life  of 
the  Nile-dweller. 

THE    UNJUST   ABHORRENCE    OF   HIS   NAME 

"Lo,  my  name  is  abhorred, 
Lo,  more  than  the  odor  of  birds 
On  summer  days  when  the  sky  is  hot. 

1  Lines  85-147. 

2  In  structure  these  poems  are  as  follows: 

The  first  has  eight  three-line  strophes. 
The  second  has  sixteen  three-line  strophes. 
The  third  has  six  three-line  strophes. 
The  fourth  has  three  three-line  strophes. 


192    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Lo,  my  name  is  abhorred, 
Lo,  more  than  a  fish-receiver 
On  the  day  of  the  catch  when  the  sky  is  hot. 

"Lo,  my  name  is  abhorred, 
Lo,  more  than  the  odor  of  fowl 
On  the  willow-hill  full  of  geese. 

"Lo,  my  name  is  abhorred, 
Lo,  more  than  the  odor  of  fishermen 
By  the  shores  of  the  marshes  when  they  have  fished. 

"Lo,  my  name  is  abhorred, 
Lo,  more  than  the  odor  of  crocodiles, 
More  than  sitting  under  the  rbank1  full  of  crocodiles. 

"Lo,  my  name  is  abhorred, 
Lo,  more  than  a  woman, 
Against  whom  a  lie  is  told  her  husband." 

Two  more  strophes  follow,  but  they  are  too  obscure  to 
be  rendered.  They  exhibit  the  same  structure,  and  evi- 
dently were  similar  in  content  to  the  others.  While  this 
poem  is  but  a  reiteration  of  the  fact  that  the  unhappy 
man's  name  has  become  a  stench  in  the  nostrils  of  his 
fellows,  in  the  second  poem  he  turns  from  himself  to  char- 
acterize those  who  are  responsible  for  his  misery.  He 
looks  out  over  the  society  of  his  time  and  finds  only  cor- 
ruption, dishonesty,  injustice,  and  unfaithfulness  even 
among  his  own  kin.  It  is  a  fearful  indictment,  and  as  he 
utters  it  he  asks  himself  in  an  ever-recurring  refrain  which 
opens  each  strophe,  "To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day?"  His 
meaning  probably  is,  "What  manner  of  men  are  those 
to  whom  I  speak?"  and  following  each  repetition  of  this 
question  is  a  new  condemnation. 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  193 

THE    CORRUPTION    OF   MEN 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Brothers  are  evil, 
Friends  of  to-day  are  rnot  of  love1. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Hearts  are  thievish, 
Every  man  seizes  his  neighbor's  goods. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
The  gentle  man  perishes, 
The  bold-faced  goes  everywhere. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
He  of  the  peaceful  face  is  wretched, 
The  good  is  disregarded  in  every  place. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
When  a  man  arouses  wrath  by  his  evil  conduct, 
He_  stirs  all  men  to  mirth,  (although)  his  iniquity  is  wicked. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Robbery  is  practised, 
Every  man  seizes  his  neighbor's  (goods). 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
The  pest  is  faithful, 
(But)  the  brother  who  comes  with  it  becomes  an  enemy. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Yesterday  is  not  remembered, 
Nor  is  ...  in  this  hour. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Brothers  are  evil, 


To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Faces  pass  away, 
Every  man  with  face  lower  than  (those  of)  his  brothers. 


194     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Hearts  are  thievish, 
The  man  upon  whom  one  leans  has  no  understanding. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
There  are  no  righteous, 
The  land  is  left  to  those  who  do  iniquity. 

' '  To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
There  is  dearth  of  the  faithful, 


' '  To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
There  is  none  here  of  contented  heart; 
Go  with  him  (the  apparently  contented)  and  he  is  not  here. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
I  am  laden  with  wretchedness, 
Without  a  faithful  one. 

"To  whom  do  I  speak  to-day? 
Evil  smites  the  land, 
It  hath  no  end." 

The  soul  of  the  sufferer  had  shrunk  back  from  death, 
and,  like  the  Song  of  the  Harper,  proposed  a  life  of  pleasure 
as  a  way  of  escape.  Then  moved  by  the  terror  of  death, 
and  the  hopelessness  of  material  preparations  to  meet  it, 
the  unhappy  man  recoiled  for  a  moment  and  turned  to 
contemplate  life.  The  two  poems  we  have  just  read  depict 
what  he  sees  as  he  thus  turns.  What  follows  is  the  logical 
rebound  from  any  faint  hope  that  life  may  be  possible, 
to  the  final  conviction  that  death  alone  is  the  release  from 
the  misery  in  which  he  is  involved.  This  third  poem  is  a 
brief  hymn  in  praise  of  death.  It  is  not  an  exalted  con- 
templation of  the  advantages  of  death,  such  as  we  find 
fifteen  hundred  years  later  in  Plato's  story  of  the  death 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  195 

of  Socrates;  nor  is  it  comparable  to  the  lofty  pessimism 
of  the  afflicted  Job;  but  as  the  earliest  utterance  of  the 
unjustly  afflicted,  as  the  first  cry  of  the  righteous  sufferer 
echoing  to  us  from  the  early  ages  of  the  world,  it  is  of 
unique  interest  and  not  without  its  beauty  and  its  wist- 
ful pathos.  It  is  remarkable  that  it  contains  no  thought 
of  God;  it  deals  only  with  glad  release  from  the  intolerable 
suffering  of  the  past  and  looks  not  forward.  It  is  char- 
acteristic of  the  age  and  the  clime  to  which  the  poem  be- 
longs, that  this  glad  release  should  appear  in  the  form  of 
concrete  pictures  drawn  from  the  daily  life  of  the  Nile- 
dweller. 

DEATH    A    GLAD    RELEASE 

"Death  is  before  me  to-day 
[Like]  the  recovery  of  a  sick  man, 
Like  going  forth  into  a  garden  after  sickness. 

"Death  is  before  me  to-day 
Like  the  odor  of  myrrh, 
Like  sitting  under  the  sail  on  a  windy  day. 

"Death  is  before  me  to-day 
Like  the  odor  of  lotus  flowers, 
Like  sitting  on  the  shore  of  drunkenness. 

"Death  is  before  me  to-day 
Like  the  course  of  the  freshet, 
Like  the  return  of  a  man  from  the  war-galley  to  his  house. 

"Death  is  before  me  to-day 
Like  the  clearing  of  the  sky, 
Like  a  man  fowling  therein  toward1  that  which  he  knew  not. 

"Death  is  before  me  to-day 
As  a  man  longs  to  see  his  house 
When  he  has  spent  years  in  captivity." 


196     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  these  pictures  are  drawn  from 
the  life  of  a  distant  world,  for  the  most  part  unfamiliar  to 
us,  they  do  not  altogether  fail  of  their  effect.  Life  as  a 
long  sickness  from  which  we  recover  at  death  as  the  con- 
valescent enters  a  beautiful  garden;  death  as  the  odor  of 
myrrh  borne  on  the  fresh  Nile  wind,  while  the  voyager 
sits  beneath  the  bellying  sail;  death  as  the  return  of  a 
war-worn  wanderer  in  far  waters  approaching  his  home, 
or  the  glad  restoration  of  the  captive  from  foreign  exile— 
these  are  figures  of  universal  appeal  in  any  age  or  clime.1 

The  forward  glance  into  the  ultimate  future,  which  is 
so  noticeably  lacking  in  the  preceding  song,  is  the  theme 
of  the  fourth  poem.  Each  of  its  three  strophes  begins 
with  the  refrain,  "He  who  is  yonder,"  a  common  phrase, 
especially  in  the  plural,  "those  who  are  yonder,"  for  "the 
dead."  "He  who  is  yonder"  shall  himself  be  a  god  and 
"inflict  the  punishment  of  wickedness  on  the  doer  of  it," 
not,  as  in  the  life  of  our  misanthrope,  on  the  innocent. 
"He  who  is  yonder"  embarks  with  the  Sun-god  in  his 
celestial  ship,  and  shall  see  that  the  best  of  offerings  are 
offered  to  the  temples  of  the  gods,  and  not  (by  implica- 
tion) be  spent  in  corrupt  rewards  or  diverted  by  thiev- 
ing officials.  "He  who  is  yonder"  is  a  respected  sage, 
not  repelled  as  he  appeals  to  the  corrupt  officials,  but 
directing  to  the  Sun-god  (Re)  his  appeals  for  which  his 
daily  presence  with  the  god  affords  him  opportunity. 

*Two  of  the  figures  are  obscure:  "the  course  of  the  freshet"  is 
perhaps  a  reference  to  the  dry  water-course  comparable  with  life, 
while  its  sudden  filling  by  the  waters  of  the  freshet  is  the  welcome 
refreshing  corresponding  to  death.  "A  man  fowling  therein  toward 
that  which  he  knew  not"  may  perhaps  refer  to  the  approach  of  the 
hunter  to  unfamiliar  regions.  "Sitting  on  the  shore  of  drunkenness " 
is  a  picture  of  sensual  pleasure  in  a  drinking-booth  on  the  dike  or 
highway,  here  called  "the  shore." 


EMERGENCE  OF  THE  MORAL  SENSE  197 

Earlier  in  the  struggle  with  his  soul,  the  sufferer  had 
expressed  the  conviction  that  he  should  be  justified  here- 
after.1 He  now  returns  to  this  conviction  in  this  fourth 
poem,  with  which  the  remarkable  document  closes.  It 
therefore  concludes  with  a  solution  likewise  found  among 
those  discerned  by  Job — an  appeal  to  justification  here- 
after, although  Job  does  not  necessarily  make  this  a  rea- 
son for  seeking  death,  thus  making  death  the  vestibule  to 
the  judgment-hall  and  therefore  to  be  sought  as  soon  as 
possible. 

THE   HIGH   PRIVILEGES   OF   THE    SOJOURNER    YONDER 

"He  who  is  yonder 
Shall  seize  (the  culprit)  as  a  living  god, 
Inflicting  punishment  of  wickedness  on  the  doer  of  it. 

"He  who  is  yonder 
Shall  stand  in  the  celestial  barque, 

Causing  that  the  choicest  of  the  offerings  there  be  given 
to  the  temples. 

"He  who  is  yonder 
Shall  be  a  wise  man  who  has  not  been  repelled, 
Praying  to  Re  when  he  speaks." 

Thus  longing  for  the  glad  release  which  death  affords 
and  confident  of  the  high  privileges  he  shall  enjoy  beyond, 
the  soul  of  the  unhappy  man  at  last  yields,  he  enters  the 
shadow  and  passes  on  to  be  with  "those  who  are  yonder." 
In  spite  of  the  evident  crudity  of  the  composition  it  is 
not  without  some  feeling  that  we  watch  this  unknown  go, 
the  earliest  human  soul,  into  the  inner  chambers  of  which 
we  are  permitted  a  glimpse  across  a  lapse  of  four  thousand 
years. 

1  Lines  23-27, 


198     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

It  is  evident  that  the  men  of  the  Feudal  Age  took 
great  pleasure  in  such  literary  efforts.  This  particular 
Berlin  papyrus  was  copied  by  a  book-scribe,  whose  con- 
cluding remark  is  still  legible  at  the  end  of  the  document: 
"  It  is  finished  from  beginning  to  end  like  that  which  was 
found  in  writing."  *  He  copied  it  therefore  from  an  older 
original,  and  doubtless  many  such  copies  were  to  be  found 
on  the  shelves  of  the  thinking  men  of  the  time.  The 
story  of  the  Misanthrope  was  one  which  owed  its  origin 
to  individual  experiences  through  which  the  men  of  this 
time  were  really  passing,  and  they  found  profit  in  perus- 
ing it.  It  is  a  distinct  mark  in  the  long  development 
of  self-consciousness,  the  slow  process  which  culminated 
in  the  emergence  of  the  individual  as  a  moral  force,  an 
individual  appealing  to  conscience  as  an  ultimate  author- 
ity at  whose  mandate  he  may  confront  and  arraign  so- 
ciety. In  this  document,  then,  we  discern  the  emergence 
of  a  new  realm,  the  realm  of  social  forces;  for  while  it  is 
the  tragedy  of  the  individual  unjustly  afflicted,  his  very 
affliction  places  him  in  the  inexorable  grip  of  social  forces, 
calling  for  a  crusade  of  social  righteousness.  The  dawn 
of  that  social  crusade  and  the  regeneration  which  fol- 
lowed are  still  to  be  considered. 

1  Lines  154-5. 


LECTURE  VII 

THE  SOCIAL  FORCES  MAKE  THEIR  IMPRESSION  ON  RELIGION 
— THE  RISE  OF  SOCIAL  REFORMERS — THE  EARLIEST 
SOCIAL  REGENERATION 

The  story  of  the  Misanthrope,  although  that  of  an 
individual  experience,  nevertheless  involves  contempla- 
tion of  society  to  whose  failings  this  individual  experience 
of  the  writer  was  largely  due.  But  the  subject  himself 
remained  the  chief  or  exclusive  concern.  On  the  other 
hand,  concern  for  social  misfortune,  the  ability  to  con- 
template and  discern  the  unworthiness  of  men,  the  calam- 
ities that  befall  society,  and  the  chronic  misery  which 
afflicts  men  as  a  body  also  appear  as  the  subject  of  dark 
and  pessimistic  reflections  in  this  remarkable  age  of  grow- 
ing self-consciousness  and  earliest  disillusionment.  A 
priest  of  Heliopolis,  named  Khekheperre-sonbu,  born 
under  Sesostris  II  (1906-1887  B.  CfJ,  "gave" expression  to 
his  sombre  musings  on  society  in  a  composition  which 
was  still  circulating  some  four  hundred  years  later  when 
a  scribe  of  the  Eighteenth  Dynasty  copied  it  upon  a 
board  now  preserved  in  the  British  Museum.1  It  is  of 
especial  interest,  as  indicating  at  the  outset  that  such  men 
of  the  Feudal  Age  were  perfectly  conscious  that  they  were 
thinking  upon  new  lines,  and  that  they  had  departed  far 

1  British  Museum,  5645.  Although  long  exhibited,  its  content  was 
first  discerned  and  published  by  Gardiner,  in  his  Admonitions  of  an 
Egyptian  Sage,  as  an  Appendix,  pp.  95-112  and  pis.  17-18.  The 
above  rendering  is  chiefly  that  of  Gardiner. 

199 


200     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

from  the  wisdom  of  the  fathers.  The  little  tractate 
reads  as  follows: 

"The  collection  of  words,  the  gathering  of  sayings,  the 
pursuit  of  utterances  with  searching  of  heart,  made  by 
the  priest  of  Heliopolis,  .  .  .  Khekheperre-sonbu,  called 
Onkhu.  He  says:  'Would  that  I  had  unknown  utter- 
ances, sayings  that  are  unfamiliar,  even  new  speech  that 
has  not  occurred  (before),  free  from  repetitions,  not  the 
utterance  of  what  has  long1  passed,  which  the  ancestors 
spake.  I  squeeze  out  my  breast l  for  what  is  in  it,  in  dis- 
lodging all  that  I  say;  for  it  is  but  to  repeat  what  has 
been  said  when  what  has  (already)  been  said  has  been 
said.  There  is  no  ^support1  for  the  speech  of  the  ances- 
tors when  the  descendants  find  it.  .  .  ." 

"'I  have  spoken  this  in  accordance  with  what  I  have 
seen,  beginning  with  the  first  men  down  to  those  who 
shall  come  after.  Would  that  I  might  know  what  others 
have  not  known,  even  what  has  not  been  repeated,  that 
I  might  speak  them  and  that  my  heart  might  answer  me; 
that  I  might  make  clear  to  it  (my  heart)  concerning  my 
ill,  that  I  might  throw  off  the  burden  that  is  on  my 
back. 

"'I  am  meditating  on  the  things  that  have  happened, 
the  events  that  have  occurred  in  the  land.  Transforma- 
tions go  on,  it  is  not  like  last  year,  one  year  is  more  bur- 
densome than  the  next.  .  .  .  Righteousness  is  cast  out, 
iniquity  is  in  the  midst  of  the  council-hall.  The  plans  of 
the  gods  are  violated,  their  dispositions  are  disregarded. 
The  land  is  in  distress,  mourning  is  in  every  place,  towns 
and  districts  are  in  lamentation.  All  men  alike  are  under 
wrongs;  as  for  respect,  an  end  is  made  of  it.  The  lords 
of  quiet  are  disquieted.  A  morning  comes  every  day  and 
1  Literally  "body"  or  "belly,"  the  seat  of  mind. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  201 

turns  back  again  to  what  has  been  (formerly).  When  I 
would  speak  '"thereof"',  my  limbs  are  heavy  laden.  I  am 
distressed  because  of  my  heart,  it  is  suffering  to  hold  my 
peace  concerning  it.  Another  heart  would  bow  down, 
(but)  a  brave  heart  in  distress  is  the  companion  of  its 
lord.  Would  that  I  had  a  heart  able  to  suffer.  Then 
would  I  rest  in  it.  I  would  load  it  with  words  of  .  .  . 
that  I  might  dislodge  through  it  my  malady.' " 

"He  said  to  his  heart:  'Come  then,  my  heart,  that  I 
may  speak  to  thee  and  that  thou  mayest  answer  for  me 
my  sayings  and  mayest  explain  to  me  that  which  is  in 
the  land.  ...  I  am  meditating  on  what  has  happened. 
Calamities  come  in  to-day,  to-morrow  Afflictions1  are  not 
past.  All  men  are  silent  concerning  it,  (although)  the 
whole  land  is  in  great  disturbance.  Nobody  is  free  from 
evil;  all  men  alike  do  it.  Hearts  are  sorrowful.  He 
who  gives  commands  is  as  he  to  whom  commands  are 
given;  the  heart  of  both  of  them  is  content.  Men  awake 
to  it  in  the  morning  daily,  (but)  hearts  thrust  it  not  away. 
The  fashion  of  yesterday  therein  is  like  to-day  and  re- 
sembles it  rbecause  of1  many  things.  .  .  .  There  is  none 
so  wise  that  he  perceives,  and  none  so  angry  that  he 
speaks.  Men  awake  in  the  morning  to  suffer  every  day. 
Long  and  heavy  is  my  malady.  The  poor  man  has  no 
strength  to  save  himself  from  him  that  is  stronger  than 
he.  It  is  painful  to  keep  silent  concerning  the  things 
heard,  (but)  it  is  suffering  to  reply  to  the  ignorant  man. 
To  criticise  an  utterance  causes  enmity,  (for)  the  heart 
receives  not  the  truth,  and  the  reply  to  a  matter  is 
not  endured.  All  that  a  man  desires  is  his  own  utter- 
ance. .  .  .'" 

"'I  speak  to  thee,  my  heart;  answer  thou  me,  (for) 
a  heart  assailed  is  not  silent.     Lo,  the  affairs  of  the  ser- 


202    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

vant  are  like  (those  of)  the  master.     Manifold  is  the  bur- 
den upon  thee."' 

Here  is  a  man  deeply  stirred  by  the  corruption  of  his 
fellows.  He  contemplates  society  as  a  whole,  and  while 
he  constantly  gives  expression  to  his  own  misery  in  view 
of  such  a  prospect,  it  is  not  his  own  suffering  which  is 
the  chief  burden  of  his  utterance.  His  concern  is  for 
society,  shackled  by  its  own  inertia,  incapable  of  discern- 
ing its  own  misery,  or,  if  at  all  conscious  of  it,  without 
the  initiative  to  undertake  its  own  regeneration.  Many 
of  his  reflections  might  find  appropriate  place  in  the 
mouth  of  a  morally  sensitive  social  observer  of  our  own 
times.  It  is  evident,  then,  that  we  have  reached  an  age 
when  for  the  first  time  in  history  men  have  awakened 
to  a  deep  sense  of  the  moral  unworthiness  of  society. 
Nor  was  this  conviction  confined  to  the  reflections  of  an 
humble  Heliopolitan  priest.  It  speaks  also  in  the  disil- 
lusionment of  Amenemhet  I,  the  great  founder  of  the  dy- 
nasty under  which  these  momentous  developments  in 
thought  were  taking  place.  He  strikes  the  same  sombre 
note  to  which,  as  we  have  seen,  even  the  harper  at  their 
feasts  attuned  his  instrument.  This  king  has  left  us  a 
brief  word  of  counsel  addressed  to  his  son,  Sesostris  I, 
who  was  to  succeed  him— counsel  very  evidently  uttered 
after  a  base  attempt  upon  the  old  king's  life  by  those 
whom  he  trusted.1 

1  The  text  is  preserved  in  seven  corrupt  hieratic  manuscripts  of 
the  Empire  dating  from  the  age  near  the  end  of  the  reign  of  Ramses  II. 
The  latest  and  best  treatment  and  text  are  by  Griffith  (Zeitschr. 
fiir  aegyptische  Sprache,  34,  35-49).  An  excellent  translation  of  the 
clearer  passages  by  Erman  in  Aus  den  Papyrus  des  koeniglichen 
Museums  zu  Berlin,  44-45.  The  above  version  is  indebted  to  both; 
see  BAR,  I,  474-483.  For  the  old  bibliography  see  Maspero,  Dawn 
of  Civilization,  467,  n.  2. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  203 

"He  saith,  while  distinguishing  righteousness, 
For  his  son 


Hearken  to  that  which  I  say  to  thee, 

That  thou  mayest  be  king  of  the  earth, 

That  thou  mayest  be  ruler  of  the  lands, 

That  thou  mayest  increase  good. 

^Harden]  thyself  against  all  subordinates. 

The  people  give  heed  to  him  who  terrorizes  them. 

Approach  them  not  alone, 

Fill  not  thy  heart  with  a  brother, 

Know  not  a  friend, 

Nor  make  for  thyself  intimates, 

Wherein  there  is  no  end. 

When  thou  sleepest,  guard  for  thyself  thine  own  heart; 

For  a  man  has  no  people 

In  the  day  of  evil. 

I  gave  to  the  beggar,  I  nourished  the  orphan; 

I  admitted  the  insignificant  as  well  as  him  who  was  of  great  account. 

(But)  he  who  ate  my  food  made  insurrection; 

He  to  whom  I  gave  my  hand  aroused  fear  therein." 

This  is  all  followed  by  the  story  of  the  attempt  on  his 
life,  an  incident  which  accounts  to  some  extent  for  the 
disillusionment  of  the  embittered  old  king. 

The  unrelieved  pessimism  of  the  Misanthrope,  of  our 
Heliopolitan  priest,  and  of  Amenemhet  I  was  not,  how- 
ever, universal.  There  were  men  who,  while  fully  recog- 
nizing the  corruption  of  society,  nevertheless  dared  dream 
of  better  days.  Another  moral  prophet  of  this  great  age 
has  put  into  dramatic  setting  not  only  his  passionate 
arraignment  of  the  times,  but  also  constructive  admoni- 
tions looking  toward  the  regeneration  of  society  and  the 
golden  age  that  might  ensue.  This,  perhaps  the  most 
remarkable  document  of  this  group  of  social  and  moral 
tractates  of  the  Feudal  Age,  may  be  called  the  Admoni- 


204    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

tions  of  Ipuwer.1  The  beginning  of  the  papyrus  contain- 
ing the  narrative  introduction  setting  forth  the  circum- 
stances under  which  the  sage  utters  his  reflections  is 
unfortunately  lost.  The  situation  in  its  chief  externals 
is,  however,  clear.  The  wise  man  Ipuwer,  in  the  presence 
of  the  king  himself  and  some  others,  possibly  the  assem- 
bled court,  delivers  a  long  and  impassioned  arraignment 
of  the  times  concluding  with  counsel  and  admonition.  A 
brief  rejoinder  by  the  king  follows,  and  a  few  words  of 
reply  by  the  sage  conclude  the  pamphlet.  Of  the  long 
oration  by  the  wise  man,  constituting  the  bulk  of  the 
document,  over  two-thirds  is  occupied  by  this  arraign- 
ment; that  is,  nearly  ten  out  of  nearly  fourteen  pages. 
This  indictment  displays  no  logical  arrangement  of  con- 
tent, though  there  has  been  evident  effort  to  dispose  the 
utterances  of  the  sage  in  strophic  form,  each  strophe 
beginning  with  the  same  phrase,  just  as  in  the  poems  of  the 
Misanthrope.  In  the  following  paragraphs  we  shall  en- 
deavor to  summarize  by  subjects  the  chief  content  of 
the  arraignment,  with  sufficient  quotation  to  indicate  the 
character  of  the  wise  man's  utterances.  The  fragmen- 
tary condition  of  the  papyrus,  and  the  intense  difficulty 

1  So  Gardiner.  A  papyrus  in  the  Leiden  Museum,  No.  344.  It 
is  378  centimetres  long  and  18  centimetres  high,  and  contains  seven- 
teen pages  of  writing.  Although  early  published  by  Leemans  in  his 
Aegyptische  Monumenten  (pis.  cv-cxiii),  it  is  in  such  a  bad  state  of 
preservation,  and  is  furthermore  so  obscure  and  difficult  in  language 
and  subject-matter,  that  it  resisted  the  attempts  of  scholars  to  de- 
termine its  content  until  1903,  when  H.  O.  Lange  published  a 
sketch  of  the  document,  with  selected  translations,  showing  it  to  be 
a  socio-prophetic  tractate:  Prophezeiungen  eines  aegyptischen  Weisen, 
in  Sitzungsber.  der  Kgl.  Preuss.  Akad.,  1903,  601  ff.  In  1909  the 
papyrus  was  published  in  extenso,  in  what  will  remain  the  standard 
edition,  by  Alan  H.  Gardiner  (The  Admonitions  of  an  Egyptian 
Sage,  Leipzig,  1909),  with  fuller  discussion  and  closer  determination 
of  the  exact  character  of  the  document. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  205 

of  the  language  employed  make  a  continuous  translation, 
even  with  copious  commentary,  quite  out  of  the  question.1 

With  searching  vision  the  sage  sweeps  his  eye  over  the 
organized  life  of  the  Nile-dwellers  and  finds  all  in  con- 
fusion. Government  is  practically  suspended,  "the  laws 
of  the  judgment-hall  are  cast  forth,  men  walk  upon 
[them]  in  the  public  places,  the  poor  break  them  open 
in  the  midst  of  the  streets.  Indeed,  the  poor  man  (thus) 
attains  to  the  power  of  the  Divine  Ennead;  that  (old 
and  respected)  procedure  of  the  Houses  of  the  Thirty 
(Judges)  is  divulged.  Indeed,  the  great  judgment-hall  is 
•"thronged1,  poor  men  go  and  come  in  the  Great  Houses 
(law-courts)"  (6,  9-12).  "Indeed,  as  for  the  Splendid1 
judgment-hall,  its  writings  are  carried  away;  the  private 
office  that  was  is  exposed.  .  .  .  Indeed,  departmental 
offices  are  opened,  their  writings  are  carried  away,2 
(so  that)  serfs  become  lords  of  rserfs\  Indeed,  officials 
are  slain,  their  writings  are  carried  away.  Woe  is  me 
for  the  misery  of  this  time.  Indeed,  the  scribes  of  the 
•produce"!,  their  writings  are  rejected;  the  grain  of  Egypt 
is  any  comer's"  (6,  5-9).  "Behold,  the  district  councils 
of  the  land  are  expelled  from  the  land,  the  .  .  .  are 
expelled  from  the  royal  houses"  (7,  9-10). 

This  disorganization  of  government  is  due  to  a  state 
of  violence  and  warfare  within  the  land.  "A  man  smites 
his  brother  of  the  same  mother.     What  is  to  be  done?" 

1  The  above  translations  are  chiefly  those  of  Gardiner,  who  has 
been  commendably  cautious  in  his  renderings.  Besides  his  own 
thorough  work  on  the  document,  he  has  incorporated  the  proverbi- 
ally penetrating  observations  and  renderings  of  Sethe. 

2  This  was  particularly  heinous  from  the  orderly  Egyptian's  point 
of  view;  the  withdrawing  of  writings  and  records  from  the  public 
offices  for  purposes  of  evidence  or  consultation  was  carefully  regu- 
lated. The  regulations  governing  the  vizier's  office  have  survived; 
see  BAR,  II,  684. 


206    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

(5, 10).  "  Behold  a  man  is  slain  by  the  side  of  his  brother, 
while  he  (the  brother)  forsakes1  him  to  save  his  own 
limbs"  (9,  3).  "A  man  regards  his  son  as  his  enemy" 
(1,  5).  "A  man  goes  to  plough  bearing  his  shield.  .  .  . 
Indeed,  .  .  .  the  archer  is  ready,  the  violent  is  in  every 
place.  There  is  no  man  of  yesterday"  (2,  2).  "Behold 
the  man  (who  gains)  a  noble  lady  as  wife,  her  father 
protects  him;  he  who  is  without  [such  protection],  they 
slay  him"  (8,  8-9).  "Blood  is  everywhere;  there  is  no 
lack1  of  death;  tne  swathing  (of  the  dead)  speaks,  before 
one  comes  near  it"  (2,  6).  "Behold  a  few  lawless  men 
are  endeavoring  to  deprive  the  land  of  the  kingship.  Be- 
hold men  are  endeavoring  to  revolt  against  the  Urseus 
(the  royal  serpent)  .  .  .  which  pacifies  the  Two  Lands" 
(7,  2-4).  "Indeed,  Elephantine  and  ^hinis1  are  the 
^domain1]  of  Upper  Egypt,  (but)  civil  war  pays  no  rev- 
enues" (3,  10-11). 

To  this  condition  of  disorganization  and  revolt  within 
are  added  the  terrors  of  foreign  invasion.  "Indeed,  the 
desert  is  in  the  land;  the  districts  (of  Egypt)  are  devas- 
tated; foreign  bowmen  come  to  Egypt"  (3,  1).  "Indeed, 
the  Marshes  (of  the  Delta)  throughout  are  not  hidden. 
Although  Lower  Egypt  is  proud  of  (its)  trodden  high- 
ways, what  is  to  be  done?  .  .  .  Behold,  it  is  rin  the  hand1 
of  those  who  knew  it  not  like  those  who  knew  it.  Asi- 
atics are  skilled  in  the  workmanship  of  the  Marshes" 
(4,  5-8). 

A  prey  to  internal  disorder  and  revolt,  helpless  before 
the  raids  of  the  Asiatics  on  the  eastern  frontiers  of  the 
Delta,  the  property  of  Egypt  is  destroyed  and  the  eco- 
nomic processes  of  the  land  cease.  "Behold,  all  the 
craftsmen,  they  do  no  work;  the  enemies  of  the  land  im- 
poverish its  crafts.     [Behold,  he  who  reaped]  the  har- 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  207 

vest  knows  naught  of  it;  he  who  has  not  ploughed  [rfills 
his  granaries.  When  the  harvest1]  occurs,  it  is  not  re- 
ported. The  scribe  [ridles  in  his  bureau,  there  is  no  work 
for1]  his  hands  therein"  (9,  6-8).  "Indeed,  when  the 
Nile  overflows,  no  one  ploughs  for  him  (the  Nile).  Every 
man  says,  'We  know  not  what  has  happened  in  the  land' " 
(2,  3).  "Behold,  cattle  are  left  straying;  there  is  none 
gathering  them  together.  Every  man  brings  for  himself 
those  that  are  branded  with  his  name"  (9,  2-3).  As 
meat  thus  disappears,  men  eat  "of  herbs  washed  down 
with  water.  .  .  .  Indeed,  grain  has  perished  on  every 
side.  Men  are  deprived  of  clothing,  '"perfumes1,  and 
ointments.  All  men  say,  'There  is  none/  The  store- 
house is  laid  waste;  its  keeper  is  stretched  on  the  ground" 
(6,  1-4).  "Civil  war  pays  no  taxes.  Scanty  are  '"grain1, 
charcoal,  .  .  .  *  the  labor  of  the  craftsmen.  .  .  .  For 
what  is  a  treasury  without  its  revenues?"  (3,  10-11). 

Under  such  economic  conditions  at  home,  foreign  com- 
merce decays  and  disappears.  "Men  sail  not  northward 
to  [Byb]los  to-day.  What  shall  we  do  for  cedars  for 
our  mummies,  with  the  tribute  of  which  priests  are 
buried;  and  with  the  oil  of  which  [princes]  are  embalmed 
as  far  as  Keftyew.2  They  return  no  more.  Scanty  is 
gold,  ended  are  the  .  .  .  of  all  crafts.  .  .  .  What  a  great 
thing  that  the  natives  of  the  oases  (still)  come  bearing 
their  festal  produce!"  (3,  6-9) .3 

Such  conditions  might  be  expected,  for  the  public  safety 
of  men  and  merchandise  has  vanished.     "Although  the 

1  Three  sorts  of  wood  follow. 

2  Vocalize  Kaftoyew,  Caphtor  (as  first  suggested  by  Spiegelberg), 
that  is  Crete. 

3  This  last  remark  is  of  course  ironical  in  reference  to  the  fact 
that  the  only  traffic  with  the  outside  world  left  to  Egypt  is  the  scanty 
produce  of  the  oases  which  still  filters  in. 


208     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

roads  are  guarded,  men  sit  in  the  thickets  until  the  be- 
nighted traveller  comes,  in  order  to  seize  his  burden. 
That  which  is  upon  him  is  taken  away.  He  is  beaten 
with  blows  of  a  stick  and  wickedly  slain"  (5,  11-12). 
Indeed,  the  land  turns  around  (the  order  of  things  is 
overturned)  as  does  a  potter's  wheel.  He  who  was  a 
robber  is  lord  of  wealth,  [rthe  rich  man1]  is  (now)  one 
plundered  (2,  8-9).  "  Indeed,  chests  of  ebony  are  smashed 
and  luxurious  acacia-wood  is  split  into  'billets1 "  (3,  4-6). 
"Indeed, gates, columns, and  'walls1  are  burned  up"  (2, 10). 
As  in  the  Song  of  the  Harper  and  the  despair  of  the  Mis- 
anthrope, the  provisions  for  the  dead  are  violated  and 
serve  no  purpose.  "Behold,  though  one  be  buried  as  a 
(royal)  falcon  on  the  bier,  that  which  the  pyramid  con- 
cealed (the  sepulchre)  has  become  empty"  (7,  2).  When 
even  the  royal  tombs  are  not  respected  men  make  but 
little  attempt  to  build  a  tomb.  "  Indeed,  many  dead  are 
buried  in  the  river;  the  stream  is  a  tomb  and  the  em- 
balming place  has  become  a  stream"  (2,  6-7).  "Those 
who  were  in  the  embalming  place  are  laid  away  on  the 
high  ground"  (instead  of  in  a  tomb)  (4,  4).  "Behold,  the 
owners  of  tombs  are  driven  out  upon  the  high  ground." 
Thus,  as  the  figure  of  the  "potter's  wheel"  suggests, 
all  is  overturned.  Social  conditions  have  suffered  com- 
plete upheaval.  In  the  longest  series  of  utterances  all 
similarly  constructed,  in  the  document,  the  sage  sets  forth 
the  altered  conditions  of  certain  individuals  and  classes 
of  society,  each  utterance  contrasting  what  was  with 
what  now  is.  "Behold,  he  who  had  no  yoke  of  oxen  is 
(now)  possesser  of  a  herd;  and  he  who  found  no  plough- 
oxen  for  himself  is  (now)  owner  of  a  herd.  Behold,  he 
who  had  no  grain  is  (now)  owner  of  granaries;  and  he 
who  used  to  fetch  grain  for  himself,  (now)  has  it  issued 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  209 

(from  his  own  granary)"  (9,  3-5).  "Behold,  the  owner 
of  wealth  (now)  passes  the  night  thirsting  (instead  of  ban- 
queting) ;  and  he  who  used  to  beg  for  himself  his  dregs  is 
now  owner  of  Overflowing1  bowls.  Behold,  the  owners  of 
robes  are  (now)  in  rags;  and  he  who  wove  not  for  him- 
self is  (now)  owner  of  fine  linen"  (7,  10-12).  Thus  the 
sage  goes  on  with  one  contrast  after  another.  In  such  a 
state  as  this  society  is  perishing.  "Men  are  few;  he  who 
lays  away  his  fellow  in  the  earth  is  everywhere"  (2, 13-14). 
"There  is  dearth  of  women  and  no  conception  (of  chil- 
dren); Khnum  (creator  of  man)  fashions  not  (men)  by 
reason  of  the  state  of  the  land." 

In  the  general  ruin  moral  decadence  is,  of  course,  in- 
volved, though  it  is  not  emphasized  as  the  cause  of  the 
universal  misery.  "The  man  of  virtues  walks  in  mourn- 
ing by  reason  of  what  has  happened  in  the  land"  (1,  8); 
others  say,  "If  I  knew  where  the  god  is,  then  would  I 
make  offerings  to  him"  (5,  3).  "Indeed,  [righteousness] 
is  in  the  land  (only)  in  this  its  name;  what  men  do,  in 
appealing  to  it,  is  iniquity" l  (5,  3-4).  Little  wonder  that 
there  is  universal  despair.  "Indeed,  mirth  has  perished, 
it  is  no  longer  made;  it  is  sighing  that  is  in  the  land, 
mingled  with  lamentations"  (3,  13-14).  "Indeed,  great 
and  small  [say],  'I  would  that  I  might  die.'  Little  chil- 
dren say,  '  Would  there  were  none  to  keep  me  alive 
(4,  2-3).  "Indeed,  all  small  cattle,  their  hearts  weep;  the 
cattle  sigh  by  reason  of  the  state  of  the  land"  (5,  5). 
The  sage  cannot  view  all  this  dispassionately;  he,  too,  is 

1  The  restoration  of  "righteousness"  is  due  to  Sethe,  and  in  view 
of  its  frequent  occurrence,  as  the  opposite  of  the  word  here  used  as 
"inquity"  (ysft),  from  the  Pyramid  Texts  on,  the  restoration  fits 
the  context  admirably,  but  Gardiner  states  that  the  traces  in  the 
lacuna  do  not  favor  the  restoration.  The  original  hieratic  of  the 
passage  is  not  included  in  his  publication. 


210    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

deeply  affected  by  the  universal  calamity  and  prays  for 
the  end  of  all.  "Would  that  there  might  be  an  end  of 
men,  that  there  might  be  no  conception,  no  birth.  If 
the  land  would  but  cease  from  noise,  and  strife  be  no 
more"  (5,  12-6,  1).  He  even  chides  himself  that  he  has 
not  endeavored  to  save  the  situation  before.  "  Would  that 
I  had  uttered  my  voice  at  that  time,  that  it  might  save 
me  from  the  suffering  wherein  I  am"  (6,  5).  "Woe  is 
me  for  the  misery  in  this  time!"  (6,  8). 

Such  is  the  dark  picture  painted  by  the  Egyptian  sage. 
This  arraignment,  occupying,  as  we  have  said,  nearly  two- 
thirds  of  the  document  as  preserved,  must  be  regarded 
as  setting  forth  the  conditions  in  Egypt  at  a  very  definite 
time.  The  close  relationship  in  language,  thought,  and 
point  of  view  between  this  tractate  of  Ipuwer  and  the 
other  social  pamphlets  known  to  belong  to  the  Feudal 
Age,  leave  little  question  as  to  the  date  of  our  document. 
The  unhappy  state  of  Egypt  depicted  by  the  sage  must 
have  existed  in  the  obscure  and  little-known  period  im- 
mediately preceding  the  Feudal  Age  (Middle  Kingdom). 

As  might  be  imagined  from  the  intense  grief  with  which 
Ipuwer  views  the  misery  of  the  time,  he  is  not  content 
to  leave  his  generation  in  this  hopeless  state.  He  now 
turns  to  exhortation,  urging  his  countrymen  first  to  de- 
stroy the  enemies  of  the  king.  Five  short  utterances 
(10,  6-11)  begin  with  the  words:  "Destroy  the  enemies 
of  the  august  residence"  (of  the  king),  although  the 
papyrus  is  too  fragmentary  at  this  point  to  determine 
clearly  what  followed  each  repetition  of  the  injunction. 
At  least  eight  similar  injunctions  follow,  each  beginning 
with  the  word  "Remember!"  (10,  12-11,  10)  and  calling 
upon  all  men  to  resume  all  sacred  observances  on  behalf 
of  the  gods.     This  second  group  of  exhortations  is  gradu- 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  211 

ally  involved  in  ever-increasing  obscurity  as  the  fragmen- 
tary condition  of  the  papyrus  grows  worse.  Out  of  a 
large  lacuna  at  last 1  there  emerges  the  most  important 
passage  in  the  entire  speech  of  the  sage,  and  one  of  the 
most  important  in  the  whole  range  of  Egyptian  literature. 

In  this  remarkable  utterance  the  sage  looks  forward 
to  the  restoration  of  the  land,  doubtless  as  a  natural  con- 
sequence of  the  admonitions  to  reform  which  he  has  just 
laid  upon  the  hearts  of  his  countrymen.  He  sees  the 
ideal  ruler  for  whose  advent  he  longs.  That  ideal  king 
once  ruled  Egypt  as  the  Sun-god,  Re,  and  as  the  sage  re- 
calls that  golden  age,  he  contrasts  it  with  the  iniquitous 
reign  under  which  the  land  now  suffers.  "  He  brings  cool- 
ing to  the  flame.  It  is  said  he  is  the  shepherd  2  of  all 
men.  There  is  no  evil  in  his  heart.  When  his  herds  are 
few,  he  passes  the  day  to  gather  them  together,  their  hearts 
being  fevered.3  Would  that  he  had  discerned  their  char- 
acter in  the  first  generation.  Then  would  he  have  smit- 
ten evil.  He  would  have  stretched  forth  his  arm  against 
it.  He  would  have  smitten  the  rseed]  thereof  and  their 
inheritance.  .  .  .  Where  is  he  to-day?  Doth  he  sleep 
perchance?     Behold  his  might  is  not  seen"  (11,  13-12,  6). 

While  there  is  no  unquestionably  predictive  element 
in  this  passage,  it  is  a  picture  of  the  ideal  sovereign,  the 
righteous  ruler  with  "no  evil  in  his  heart,"  who  goes  about 
like  a  "shepherd"  gathering  his  reduced  and  thirsty  herds. 

1  Latter  part  of  p.  11. 

2  Or  "herdman."  The  Sun-god  is  called  "a  valiant  herdman 
who  drives  his  cattle"  in  a  Sun-hymn  of  the  Eighteenth  Dynasty 
(see  below,  p.  316),  and  this,  it  seems  to  me,  makes  quite  certain 
Gardiner's  conclusion  (on  other  grounds)  that  this  passage  is  a 
description  of  the  reign  of  Re. 

3  This  probably  means  thirsty,  perhaps  a  symbol  for  afflicted. 
Compare  the  hearts  of  the  cattle  "weeping"  above,  p.  209. 


212     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Such  a  righteous  reign,  like  that  of  David,  has  been,  and 
may  be  again.  The  element  of  hope,  that  the  advent  of 
the  good  king  is  imminent,  is  unmistakable  in  the  final 
words:  "Where  is  he  to-day?  Doth  he  sleep  perchance? 
Behold  his  might  is  not  seen."  With  this  last  utterance 
one  involuntarily  adds,  "as  yet."  The  peculiar  signifi- 
cance of  the  picture  lies  in  the  fact  that,  if  not  the  social 
programme,  at  least  the  social  ideals,  the  golden  dream 
of  the  thinkers  of  this  far-off  age,  already  included  the 
ideal  ruler  of  spotless  character  and  benevolent  purposes 
who  would  cherish  and  protect  his  own  and  crush  the 
wicked.  Whether  the  coming  of  this  ruler  is  definitely 
predicted  or  not,  the  vision  of  his  character  and  his  work 
is  here  unmistakably  lifted  up  by  the  ancient  sage — lifted 
up  in  the  presence  of  the  living  king  and  those  assem- 
bled with  him,  that  they  may  catch  something  of  its  splen- 
dor. This  is,  of  course,  Messianism  nearly  fifteen  hundred 
years  before  its  appearance  among  the  Hebrews.1 

1  Lange  first  called  attention  to  the  Messianic  character  of  this 
passage.  His  interpretation,  however,  was  that  the  passage  defi- 
nitely predicts  the  coming  of  the  Messianic  king.  Gardiner  has  suc- 
cessfully opposed  Lange's  conclusion  as  far  as  prediction  is  concerned, 
and  by  his  full  and  careful  commentary  has  contributed  much  to 
our  understanding  of  the  passage.  But  no  student  of  Hebrew 
prophecy  can  follow  Gardiner  in  his  next  step,  viz.,  that  by  the  elim- 
ination of  the  predictive  element  we  deprive  the  document  of  its 
prophetic  character.  This  is  simply  to  import  a  modern  English 
meaning  of  the  word  prophecy  as  prediction  into  the  interpretation 
of  these  ancient  documents,  particularly  Hebrew  literature.  Gar- 
diner's final  conclusion  is:  "I  must  once  more  affirm  that  there  is 
no  certain  or  even  likely  trace  of  prophecies  in  any  part  of  this  book" 
(Admonitions,  p.  17).  In  the  same  paragraph  he  states  the  "specific 
problem"  of  the  document  to  be  "the  conditions  of  social  and 
political  well-being."  This  is,  of  course,  the  leading  theme  of 
Hebrew  prophecy.  On  the  basis  of  any  sufficient  definition  of  He- 
brew prophecy,  including  the  contemplation  of  social  and  political 
evils,   and  admonitions  for  their  amelioration,   the  utterances  of 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  213 

In  the  mind  of  the  sage  the  awful  contrast  between  the 
rule  of  the  ideal  king  and  that  of  the  living  Pharaoh  in 
whose  presence  he  stands  now  calls  forth  the  fiercest  de- 
nunciation of  his  sovereign.  Like  Nathan1  with  his  bit- 
ing words,  "Thou  art  the  man,"  he  places  the  responsi- 
bility for  all  that  he  has  so  vividly  recalled  upon  the 
shoulders  of  the  king.  "Taste,  Knowledge,  and  Right- 
eousness are  with  thee,"  he  says,  (but)  "  it  is  strife  which 
thou  puttest  in  the  land,  together  with  the  sound  of  tu- 
mult. Lo,  one  makes  attack  upon  another.  Men  con- 
form to  that  which  thou  hast  commanded.  If  three  men 
go  upon  a  road,  they  are  found  to  be  two,  (for)  they  who 
are  many  slay  the  few.  Is  there  a  herdman  who  loves 
death,   (that  is,  for  his  herds)?    Wherefore  thou  com- 

Ipuwer  are  prophecy  throughout  (see  infra,  p.  215).  With  refer- 
ence to  the  " Messianic"  passage  above,  its  Messianic  character 
does  not  in  the  slightest  depend  upon  its  predictive  character.  Gar- 
diner is  surely  right  (against  Lange)  in  making  the  long  arraignment 
not  prediction,  but  a  description  of  actually  existent  conditions. 
The  admonitions  which  follow,  however,  definitely  look  to  the  future, 
in  which  the  sage  expects  the  people  to  carry  out  his  injunctions. 
The  "Messianic"  passage  follows  directly  upon  these  admonitions, 
and  itself  is  followed  by  a  rebuke  to  the  king  merging  into  a  picture 
which,  in  Gardiner's  words,  describes  "the  joy  and  prosperity  of 
the  land  in  a  happier  age"  (ibid.,  p.  87).  Indeed  in  Gardiner's  own 
opinion  the  "Messianic"  passage  concludes  with  a  "return  to  a  con- 
sideration of  the  future  prospects  of  Egypt,"  so  that  at  the  end  "we 
touch  firm  ground  in  three  sentences  that  clearly  refer  to  the  looked- 
for  (but  not  necessarily  prophesied)  redeemer:  'Where  is  he  to-day? 
Doth  he  sleep  perchance?  Behold  ye,  his  might  is  not  seen'" 
(ibid.,  p.  80).  The  parenthesis  is  Gardiner's,  and  what  he  means  is, 
of  course,  that  the  "redeemer"  is  looked  for,  but  not  necessarily 
predicted.  It  is  solely  this  entirely  insufficient  conception  of  Hebrew 
prophecy  as  "prediction"  which  eventuates  in  Gardiner's  conclu- 
sion, "that  there  is  too  much  uncertainty  about  the  matter  for  it  to 
be  made  the  basis  of  any  far-reaching  conclusions  as  to  the  influence 
of  Egyptian  upon  Hebrew  literature"  (ibid.,  p.  15).  The  "uncer- 
1  The  similarity  was  noticed  by  Gardiner. 


214     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

mandest  to  make  answer:  'It  is  because  one  man  loves, 
(but)  another  hates'  .  .  .  (Nay,  I  say)  thou  hast  (so) 
done  as  to  bring  forth  these  things.  Thou  hast  spoken 
lies"  (12,  12-13,  2).  Having  thus  given  the  king  the  lie 
in  response  to  his  supposed  reply,  the  wise  man  for  a 
moment  reverts  to  description  of  the  desolate  condition 
of  society  which  occupied  him  in  the  long  arraignment. 
The  progress  of  his  thought,  however,  is  toward  the  fut- 
ure betterment  to  which  he  admonished  after  the  con- 
clusion of  the  arraignment,  and  his  bitter  denunciation 
of  the  king;  now,  therefore,  the  misery  for  which  he  is 
responsible  merges  into  a  final  picture  of  "joy  and  pros- 
perity" (13,  9-14,  5)  in  eight  strophes,  each  beginning 
with  a  refrain  of  somewhat  uncertain  meaning. 

The  sage  has  completed  his  long  address,  and  the  king 
now  actually  replies,  though  we  are  unable  to  recover  it 
from  the  broken  fragments  of  the  tattered  page  on  which 

tainty,"  as  Gardiner  here  specifies  it,  concerns  solely  Lange's  in- 
terpretation of  the  "Messianic"  passage  as  predictive;  though  even, 
according  to  Gardiner,  the  latter  part  of  the  J'  Messianic"  passage 
looks  forward  to  a  "redeemer"  yet  to  come.  The  Messianic  vision 
with  the  Hebrew  prophets  was  often  but  a  great  hope,  sometime3 
rising  to  conviction  that  the  hope  would  be  realized.  It  was  a 
vision  toward  the  realization  of  which  they  desired  to  contribute. 
It  was  but  an  early  form  of  social  idealism,  which  evidently  began 
(so  far  as  we  know)  in  Egypt,  and  emerged  in  lofty  form  among  the 
Hebrews  also.  A  unique  detachment  and  capacity  to  contemplate 
society,  emerging  for  the  first  time  in  history  in  the  Feudal  Age  in 
Egypt,  produced  these  social  tractates  above  discussed.  If  the 
story  of  the  Two  Brothers,  after  centuries  of  circulation  in  Egypt, 
reached  Palestine  to  find  embodiment  in  the  tale  of  Joseph,  it  is 
more  than  possible  that  the  pamphlets  of  Ipuwer  and  the  men  of 
his  class  similarly  entered  Palestine  and  suggested  to  the  idealists 
of  Israel  the  conception  of  the  righteous  king  and  redeemer/  I 
ought,  perhaps,  to  add  that  in  a  letter  to  me  Gardiner  disclaims  re- 
garding prediction  as  constituting  "prophecy,"  but  I  have  had  to 
deal  with  his  argument  as  I  found  it  in  his  admirable  volume. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  215 

it  appears.  A  brief  reply  of  Ipuwer  ensues,  beginning, 
"That  which  Ipuwer  said  when  he  replied  to  the  majesty 
of  the  sovereign."  It  is  very  obscure,  but  seems  to  re- 
mind the  king  ironically  that  he  has  but  done  what  the 
inertia  and  indifference  of  a  corrupt  generation  desired, 
and  here,  as  Gardiner  shows,  the  tractate  probably  ended. 
In  recognizing  the  depths  to  which  a  degenerate  and 
corrupt  society  and  government  have  descended,  our  sage 
has  much  in  common  with  the  Misanthrope.  The  latter, 
however,  found  his  individual  fortunes  so  fatally  involved 
in  the  general  catastrophe  that  there  was  no  hope,  and  he 
desired  death  as  the  only  solution.  Ipuwer,  on  the  other 
hand,  quite  unmistakably  looks  toward  a  future  redemp- 
tion of  society.  The  appearance  in  this  remote  age  of 
the  necessary  detachment  and  the  capacity  to  contemplate 
society,  things  before  unknown  in  the  thought  of  man,  is  a 
significant  phenomenon.  Still  more  significant,  however, 
is  this  vision  of  the  possible  redemption  of  society,  and  the 
agent  of  that  redemption  as  a  righteous  king,  who  is  to 
shield  his  own  and  to  purge  the  earth  of  the  wicked.  This 
is  but  the  earliest  emergence  of  a  social  idealism  which 
among  the  Hebrews  we  call  "  Messianism."  Such  a  con- 
ception might  go  far  in  the  early  East.  After  centuries 
of  circulation  in  Egypt,  the  tale  picturing  the  trial  of  the 
virtue  of  a  good  youth,  as  we  have  it  in  the  Story  of  the 
Two  Brothers,  passed  over  into  Palestine,  to  be  incor- 
porated in  the  mosaic  which  has  descended  to  us  as  the 
story  of  Joseph.  How  such  materials  migrated  among 
the  peoples  of  the  eastern  Mediterranean  has  been  demon- 
strated by  the  recent  recovery  of  the  Aramaic  original  of 
the  Story  of  Akhikar.  Under  these  circumstances  it  is 
more  than  possible  that  the  imagination  of  the  literary 
prophets  of  the  Hebrews  was  first  touched  by  some  knowl- 


216     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

edge  of  the  Egyptian  vision  of  the  ideal  age  and  the  ideal 
king  set  forth  in  such  a  tractate  as  that  of  Ipuwer,  and 
wandering  into  Palestine,  as  did  the  Tale  of  the  Two 
Brothers. 

We  see,  then,  that  not  all  of  the  social  thinkers  at  the 
court  of  the  Pharaoh  in  the  Feudal  Age  shared  the  un- 
qualified pessimism  which  we  had  thus  far  found  in  their 
earlier  teachings;  nor,  on  the  other  hand,  did  they  follow 
exclusively  the  fair  but  elusive  vision  of  this  Messianic 
dreamer.  Not  an  ideal  king  only,  but  a  body  of  just 
officials  should  usher  in  the  era  of  social  justice  in  the 
thought  of  some.  The  men  of  this  school  as  they  scanned 
life,  held  wholesome  and  practical  principles  of  right  living 
applicable  to  the  daily  situation  of  the  average  member 
of  the  official  class.  These  views  have  found  expression 
in  at  least  two  tractates  which  have  descended  to  us: 
The  Eloquent  Peasant  and  the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep.  The 
first,  whose  author,  as  so  commonly  in  this  impersonal 
age,  we  do  not  know,  is  in  the  form  of  a  picturesque 
Oriental  tale,  conceived  solely  to  furnish  a  dramatic  set- 
ting for  a  series  of  disquisitions  on  the  proper  character 
and  spirit  of  the  just  official,  and  the  resulting  social  and 
administrative  justice  toward  the  poor.  It  is  not  a  little 
interesting  to  discern  this  ancient  thinker  of  four  thousand 
years  ago  wrestling  with  a  difficulty  which  has  since  then 
continued  to  be  one  of  the  most  refractory  problems  of 
all  administrators  in  the  East,  a  problem  which  has  not 
been  wholly  solved  even  under  the  skilled  and  experienced 
administration  of  England  in  Egypt  at  the  present  day. 

The  tale  of  the  Eloquent  Peasant  is  as  follows.1    A 

1  The  tale  of  the  Eloquent  Peasant  is  preserved  in  six  papyri,  three 
of  which  are  now  in  the  Berlin  Museum  (P.  10-199,  P.  3023,  P.  3025); 
one  in  the  British  Museum  (Papj'rus  Butler  527,  Brit.  Mus.,  No. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  217 

peasant  of  the  Fayum  region  in  the  Natron  district,  living 
in  a  village  called  the  Salt-Field,  loads  a  small  train  of 
donkeys  with  the  produce  of  his  village  and  goes  down  to 
Heracleopolis,  near  the  mouth  of  the  Fayum,  to  trade  for 
grain.  On  the  way  thither  he  is  obliged  to  pass  the  es- 
tablishment of  one  Thutenakht,  a  subordinate  official 
among  the  people  of  Rensi,1  who  was  grand  steward  of 
the  Pharaoh  himself,  Heracleopolis  being  the  royal  resi- 
dence at  the  time  in  which  the  action  is  placed  (Ninth  or 
Tenth  Dynasty) .  Now,  when  Thutenakht  sees  the  donkeys 
of  the  peasant  approaching,  he  at  once  devises  a  plan  for 
seizing  them.  Sending  a  servant  hastily  to  the  house,  he 
secures  thence  some  pieces  of  linen,  which  he  spreads  out 
in  the  highway  so  as  to  fill  it  entirely  from  the  edge  of  the 
grain-field  on  the  upper  side  to  the  water  of  the  canal  on 
the  lower.  The  unsuspecting  peasant  approaches,  as  the 
tale,  with  a  discernible  touch  of  the  writer's  indignation, 
states,  "on  the  way  belonging  to  every  one,"  which 
Thutenakht  has  thus  blocked.  Fearing  the  water  below, 
the  peasant  turns  upward  to  skirt  the  edge  of  the  grain- 

10274,  recto,  containing  only  forty  lines);  and  two  in  the  Amherst 
collection  (consisting  of  fragments  belonging  to  Berlin,  P.  3023  and 
P.  3025).  The  Berlin  papyri,  P.  3023  and  P.  3025,  were  published 
by  Lepsius,  Denkmaeler,  VI,  108-110.  A  final  standard  publication, 
including  all  three  of  the  Berlin  papyri,  was  issued  by  the  Berlin 
Museum  in  1908  {Die  Klagen  des  Bauern,  bearbeitet  von  F.  Vogel- 
sang und  Alan  H.  Gardiner,  Leipzig,  1908).  It  contains  a  careful 
translation.  See  also  Gardiner,  Eine  neue  Handschrift  des  Sinu- 
hegedichtes  (Sitzungsber.  der  Kgl.  Preuss.  Akad.,  1907,  p.  142),  on  the 
discovery  of  Berlin  P.  10499.  Papyrus  Butler  was  published  by 
Griffith  in  Proceedings  of  the  Soc.  of  Bibl.  Arch.,  XIV,  1892,  pp. 
451  if.  The  Amherst  fragments  were  published  by  Newberry  in 
The  Amherst  Papyri,  London,  1899. 

1  This  name  was  formerly  read  "Meruitensi."  The  proper  read- 
ing, "Rensi,"  was  established  by  Sethe,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt. 
Sprache,  49,  95  ff. 


218     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

field.  As  the  donkeys  pass,  one  of  them  nips  a  mouthful 
of  the  tempting  grain,  at  once  affording  the  wily  Thu- 
tenakht  the  opportunity  he  desired.  The  peasant  pathet- 
ically maintains  the  attitude  and  the  speech  of  depreca- 
tory but  not  servile  courtesy,  until  with  loud  complaint 
Thutenakht  seizes  the  asses.  Thereupon  the  peasant  re- 
peats his  former  courteous  remonstrance,  but  adds  a  bold 
protest.  "My  way  is  right.  One  side  is  blocked.  I 
bring  my  ass  along  the  edge  thereof,  and  thou  seizest  him 
because  he  has  plucked  a  mouthful  of  the  grain.  Now,  I 
know  the  lord  of  this  domain.  It  belongs  to  the  grand 
steward,  Meru's  son,  Rensi.  Now,  it  is  he  who  drives  off 
every  robber  in  this  whole  land.  Shall  I  then  be  robbed  in 
his  domain ! "  Infuriated  by  the  peasant's  boldness,  Thute- 
nakht seizes  a  branch  of  green  tamarisk,  mercilessly  beats 
his  victim,  and,  in  spite  of  the  peasant's  cries  and  protests, 
drives  off  the  asses  to  his  own  quarters.  After  four  days 
of  fruitless  pleading  for  the  return  of  the  asses,  the  un- 
happy peasant,  all  the  time  knowing  that  his  family  at 
home  is  on  the  verge  of  starvation,  determines  to  apply 
to  the  grand  steward  himself,  on  whose  domain  the  out- 
rage occurred.  He  is  the  more  encouraged  in  so  doing 
by  the  proverbial  reputation  for  justice  which  the  grand 
steward  enjoys.  As  the  peasant  approaches  the  city,  he 
fortunately  meets  the  grand  steward  issuing  from  the 
shore-gate  of  his  estate  and  going  down  to  embark  in  his 
state  barge  on  the  canal.  By  the  most  ceremonious  polite- 
ness and  complete  command  of  the  current  diplomacy  of 
address,  the  peasant  gains  the  ear  of  the  great  man  for  a 
moment  as  he  passes,  so  that  he  sends  a  body-servant  to 
hear  the  peasant's  story.  When  the  servant  has  returned 
and  communicated  Thutenakht's  theft  to  Rensi,  the 
grand  steward  lays  the  affair  before  his  suite  of  officials. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  219 

Their  reply  is  the  author's  skilfully  created  occasion  for 
bringing  before  the  reader,  without  comment,  the  current 
and  conventional  treatment  of  such  complaints  of  the 
poor  in  official  circles.  The  colleagues  of  the  grand 
steward  at  once  range  themselves  on  the  side  of  their 
subordinate,  the  thievish  Thutenakht.  They  reply  to 
Rensi,  with  much  indifference,  that  the  case  is  probably 
one  of  a  peasant  who  has  been  paying  his  dues  to  the  wrong 
superior  officer,  and  that  Thutenakht  has  merely  seized 
dues  which  rightfully  belonged  to  him.  They  ask  with 
indignation,  "Shall  Thutenakht  be  punished  for  a  little 
natron  and  a  little  salt?  (Or  at  most)  let  it  be  commanded 
him  to  replace  it  and  he  will  replace  it."  It  is  character- 
istic of  their  class  that  they  quite  ignore  the  asses,  the 
loss  of  which  means  starvation  to  the  peasant  and  his 
family. 

Meantime  the  peasant  stands  by  and  hears  his  fatal 
loss  thus  slurred  over  and  ignored  by  those  in  authority. 
The  grand  steward  meanwhile  stands  musing  in  silence. 
It  is  a  tableau  which  epitomizes  ages  of  social  history  in 
the  East:  on  the  one  hand,  the  brilliant  group  of  the  great 
man's  sleek  and  subservient  suite,  the  universal  type  of 
the  official  class;  and,  on  the  other,  the  friendless  and 
forlorn  figure  of  the  despoiled  peasant,  the  pathetic  per- 
sonification of  the  cry  for  social  justice.  This  scene  is 
one  of  the  earliest  examples  of  that  Oriental  skill  in  set- 
ting forth  abstract  principles  in  concrete  situations,  so 
wonderfully  illustrated  later  in  the  parables  of  Jesus. 
Seeing  that  the  grand  steward  makes  no  reply,  the 
peasant  makes  another  effort  to  save  his  family  and  him- 
self from  the  starvation  which  threatens  them  all.  He 
steps  forward  and  with  amazing  eloquence  addresses  the 
great  man  in  whose  hands  his  case  now  rests,  promising 


220     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

him  a  fair  voyage  as  he  embarks  on  the  canal  and  voicing 
the  fame  of  the  grand  steward's  benevolence  on  which 
he  had  reckoned.  "  For  thou  art  the  father  of  the  orphan, 
the  husband  of  the  widow,  the  brother  of  the  forsaken, 
the  kilt  of  the  motherless.  Let  me  put  thy  name  in  this 
land  above  every  good  law,  0  leader  free,  from  avarice, 
great  man  free  from  littleness,  who  destroys  falsehood 
and  brings  about  truth.  Respond  to  the  cry  which  my 
mouth  utters,  when  I  speak,  hear  thou.  Do  justice,  thou 
who  art  praised,  whom  the  praised  praise.  Relieve  my 
misery.  Behold  me,  I  am  heavy  laden;  prove  me,  lo  I 
am  in  sorrow."  1 

The  grand  steward  is  so  pleased  with  the  peasant's 
extraordinary  readiness  in  speech,  that  he  leaves  him 
without  giving  any  decision  in  his  case,  and  proceeds  at 
once  to  the  court,  where  he  says  to  the  king:  "My  lord,  I 
have  found  one  of  these  peasants  who  is  verily  beautiful 
of  speech."  The  king,  greatly  pleased,  charges  the  grand 
steward  to  lead  the  peasant  on  without  giving  him  a  de- 
cision, in  order  that  he  may  deliver  himself  of  further 
addresses.  The  king  likewise  commands  that  what  the 
peasant  says  shall  be  carefully  written  down,  and  that 
meantime  he  shall  be  supplied  with  food  and  maintenance 
and  that  a  servant  be  sent  to  his  village  to  see  that  his 
family  suffers  no  want  in  the  interval.  As  a  result  of 
these  arrangements,  the  peasant  makes  no  less  than  eight 
successive  appeals  to  Rensi. 

These  addresses  to  the  grand  steward  at  first  reflect 
the  grievous  disappointment  of  the  peasant  in  view  of  the 
great  man's  reputation  for  unswerving  justice.  He  there- 
fore begins  his  second  address  with  reproaches,  which 

xIn  the  older  Berlin  papyrus  the  conclusion  reads:  "Count  me 
(or  'prove  me'),  lo>  I  am  few." 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  221 

Rensi  interrupts  with  threats.  The  peasant,  like  Ipuwer 
in  his  arraignment  of  the  king,  is  undaunted  and  con- 
tinues his  reproof.  The  third  speech  reverts  to  praises 
like  those  of  his  first  appeal  to  Rensi.  "O  grand  steward, 
my  lord !  Thou  art  Re,  lord  of  the  sky  together  with  thy 
court.  All  the  affairs  of  men  (are  thine).  Thou  art  like 
the  flood  (inundation),  thou  art  the  Nile  that  makes  green 
the  fields  and  furnishes  the  waste  lands.  Ward  off  the 
robber,  protect  the  wretched,  become  not  a  torrent 
against  him  who  pleads.  Take  heed,  (for)  eternity  draws 
near.  Prefer  acting  as  it  is  (proverbially)  said,  'It  is  the 
breath  of  the  nostrils  to  do  justice'  (or  'right,  righteous- 
ness, truth').  Execute  punishment  on  him  to  whom 
punishment  is  due,  and  none  shall  be  like  thy  correctness. 
Do  the  balances  err?  Does  the  scale-beam  swerve  to  one 
side?  .  .  .  Speak  not  falsehood,  (for)  thou  art  great  (and 
therefore  responsible).  Be  not  light,  (for)  thou  art 
weighty.  Speak  not  falsehood,  for  thou  art  the  balances. 
Swerve  not,  for  thou  art  a  correct  sum.  Lo,  thou  art  at 
one  with  the  balances.  If  they  tip  (falsely)  thou  tippest 
(falsely).  .  .  .  Thy  tongue  is  the  index  (of  the  balances), 
thy  heart  is  the  weight,  thy  two  lips  are  the  beam  thereof" 
(11.  140-167). 

These  comparisons  of  the  grand  steward's  character 
and  functions  with  the  balances  appear  repeatedly  in  the 
speeches  of  the  peasant.1  Their  lesson  is  evident.  The 
norm  of  just  procedure  is  in  the  hands  of  the  ruling  class. 
If  they  fail,  where  else  shall  it  be  found?  It  is  expected 
that  they  shall  weigh  right  and  wrong  and  reach  a  just 
decision  with  the  infallibility  of  accurate  balances.  They 
form  a  symbol  which  became  widely  current  in  Egyptian 

1  It  is  a  comparison  which  the  great  nobles  of  the  Feudal  Age 
were  fond  of  using  on  their  tomb  stelae;  e.  g.,  BAR,  I,  745,  531. 


222     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

life,  till  the  scales  appear  as  the  graphic  means  of  depict- 
ing the  judgment  of  each  soul  in  the  hereafter.  Indeed 
in  the  hands  of  blind  Justice  they  have  survived  even  into 
our  own  day.  But  this  symbol  had  its  origin  among  these 
social  thinkers  of  the  FeudaljAge  in  Egypt  four  thousand 
years  ago.  It  should  be  noticed,  too,  that  the  peasant  re- 
minds the  grand  steward  of  his  own  appearance  before 
the  judgment  of  the  impartial  balances.  "Take  heed," 
says  he,  "  (for)  eternity  draws  near."  This  is  one  of  few 
appeals  against  injustice  to  the  future  responsibility  of 
the  oppressor.  It  is  found  once  more  also  in  this  docu- 
ment, in  the  second  speech  of  the  peasant.1 

The  threats  of  the  peasant  now  prove  too  keen  for 
the  grand  steward  as  he  stands  before  the  palace,  and 
he  despatches  two  servants  to  flog  the  unhappy  man. 
Nevertheless  he  awaits  Rensi's  coming,  as  he  issues  from 
the  state  temple  of  the  residence,  to  address  him  in  a 
fourth  speech,  and  proceeds  then  in  a  fifth  to  even  sharper 
denunciation.  "Thou  art  appointed,"  he  says,  "to  hear 
causes,  to  judge  two  litigants,  to  ward  off  the  robber. 
But  thou  makest  common  cause  with  the  thief.  Men 
love  thee,  although  thou  art  a  transgressor.  Thou  art 
set  for  a  dam  for  the  afflicted,  to  save  him  from 
drowning."  2 

Still  there  is  no  response  from  Rensi,  and  the  peasant 
begins  a  sixth  address  with  renewed  appeal  to  the  great 
man's  sense  of  justice  and  his  reputation  for  benevolence. 
"O  grand  steward,  my  lord!  'Destroy1  falsehood,  bring 
about  justice.  Bring  about  every  good  thing,  destroy 
[every  evil]  thing;  like  the  coming  of  satiety,  that  it  may 
end  hunger;  (or)  clothing,  that  it  may  end  nakedness;  like 
the  peaceful  sky  after  the  violent  tempest,  that  it  may 

i  Berlin,  P.  3023,  1.  95.  2  Ibid.,  11.  234-8. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  223 

warm  those  who  suffer  cold;   like  fire  that  cooks  what  is 
raw;  like  water  that  quenches  thirst."  l 

As  Rensi  remains  unresponsive  to  this  appeal,  the 
wretched  peasant  is  again  goaded  to  denunciation.  "Thou 
art  instructed,  thou  art  educated,  thou  art  taught,  but 
not  for  robbery.  Thou  art  accustomed  to  do  like  all  men 
and  thy  kin  are  (likewise)  ensnared.  (Thou)  the  recti- 
tude of  all  men,  art  the  (chief)  transgressor  of  the  whole 
land.  The  gardener  of  evil,  waters  his  domain  with  iniq- 
uity that  his  domain  may  bring  forth  falsehood,  in  order 
to  flood  the  estate  with  wickedness."  2  Even  such  de- 
nunciation seems  now  to  leave  the  grand  steward  en- 
tirely indifferent  and  the  peasant  approaches  for  his 
seventh  speech.  He  begins  with  the  usual  florid  enco- 
mium in  which  the  grand  steward  is  the  "rudder  of  the 
whole  land  according  to  whose  command  the  land  sails,"  3 
but  turns  soon  to  his  own  miserable  condition.  "My 
body  is  full,  and  my  heart  is  burdened,"  he  complains; 
"there  is  a  break  in  the  dam  and  the  waters  thereof  rush 
out.  (Thus)  my  mouth  is  opened  to  speak."  Then  as 
the  indifference  of  this  man  of  just  and  benevolent  repu- 
tation continues,  the  unhappy  peasant's  provocation  is 
such  that  the  silence  of  the  grand  steward  appears  as 
something  which  would  have  aroused  the  speech  of  the 
most  stupid  and  faltering  of  pleaders.  "There  is  none 
silent  whom  thou  wouldst  not  have  roused  to  speech. 
There  is  none  sleeping  whom  thou  wouldst  not  have  wak- 
ened. There  is  none  unskilled  whom  thou  wouldst  not 
have  made  efficient.  There  is  no  closed  mouth  which 
thou  wouldst  not  have  opened.     There  is  none  ignorant 

1  Ibid.,  11.  240-8. 

2  Ibid.,  11.  260-5  =  Berlin,  P.  3025,  11.  14-20. 

3  Ibid.,  11.  267-8. 


224    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

whom  thou  wouldst  not  have  made  wise.  There  is  none 
foolish  whom  thou  wouldst  not  have  taught."  l  Unable 
to  restrain  the  tide  of  his  indignation,  therefore,  the  peas- 
ant goes  on  to  his  eighth  speech  and  continued  denuncia- 
tion. "Thy  heart  is  avaricious;  it  becomes  thee  not. 
Thou  robbest;  it  profiteth  thee  not.  .  .  .  The  officials 
who  were  installed  to  ward  off  iniquity  are  a  refuge  for 
the  unbridled,  (even)  the  officials  who  were  installed  to 
ward  off  falsehood."  2  The  appeal  to  justice,  however, 
is  not  abandoned,  and  the  peasant  returns  to  it  in  the 
most  remarkable  utterances  in  this  remarkable  tractate. 
"Do  justice  for  the  sake  of  the  lord  of  justice  .  .  .  thou 
(who  art)  Pen  and  Roll  and  Writing  Palette,  (even) 
Thoth 3  who  art  far  from  doing  evil.  .  .  .  For  justice  (or 
' righteousness,  right,  truth')  is  for  eternity.  It  de- 
scends with  him  that  doeth  it  into  the  grave,  when  he  is 
placed  in  the  coffin  and  laid  in  the  earth.  His  name  is 
not  effaced  on  earth;  he  is  remembered  because  of  good. 
Such  is  the  exact  summation  of  the  divine  word."  Upon 
these  impressive  words  follows  naturally  the  question 
whether,  in  spite  of  this,  injustice  is  still  possible;  and 
so  the  peasant  asks:  "Do  the  balances  indeed  swerve? 
Do  the  scales  indeed  incline  to  one  side?"  Or  is  it  merely 
that  no  decision  at  all  has  been  reached  to  right  the  shame- 
ful wrong  which  he  has  suffered?  And  yet  the  just  mag- 
istrate who  might  have  righted  it  has  been  present  from 
the  beginning.  "Thou  hast  not  been  sick,  thou  hast  not 
fled,  thou  hast  not  rhidden  thyself1 !  (But)  thou  hast  not 
given  me  requital  for  this  good  word  which  came  out  of 

1  Ibid.,  11.  285-8.  The  negative  has  been  omitted  by  the  scribe  in 
the  second  half  (the  relative  clause)  of  each  one  of  these  sentences. 
This  is  doubtless  due  to  the  customary  confusion  in  many  languages 
in  sentences  where  two  negatives  occur. 

2  Ibid.,  11.  292-8.  3  God  of  writing  and  legal  procedure. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  225 

the  mouth  of  Re  himself:  'Speak  the  truth,  do  the  truth.1 
For  it  is  great,  it  is  mighty,  it  is  enduring.  The  reward 
thereof  shall  find  thee,  and  it  shall  follow  (thee)  unto 
blessedness  hereafter.' " 2 

No  response  from  Rensi  follows  these  noble  words. 
The  peasant  lifts  up  his  voice  again  in  a  final  despairing 
plea,  his  ninth  address.  He  reminds  the  grand  steward 
of  the  dangers  of  consorting  with  deceit;  he  who  does  so 
"shall  have  no  children  and  no  heirs  on  earth.  As  for 
him  who  sails  with  it  (deceit),  he  shall  not  reach  the  land, 
and  his  vessel  shall  not  moor  at  her  haven.  .  .  .  There  is 
no  yesterday  for  the  indifferent.  There  is  no  friend  for 
him  who  is  deaf  to  justice.  There  is  no  glad  day  for  the 
avaricious.  .  .  .  Lo,  I  make  my  plea  to  thee,  but  thou 
hearest  it  not.  I  will  go  and  make  my  plea  because  of 
thee  to  Anubis."  In  view  of  the  fact  that  Anubis  is  a 
god  of  the  dead,  the  peasant  doubtless  means  that  he 
goes  to  take  his  own  life.  The  grand  steward  sends  his 
servants  to  bring  him  back  as  he  departs,  and  some  un- 
intelligible words  pass  between  them.  Meantime,  Rensi 
"had  committed  to  a  roll  every  petition  (of  the  peasant) 
unto  [this]  day."  It  is  supposably  a  copy  of  this  roll 
which  has  descended  to  us;  but,  unfortunately,  the  con- 
clusion has  been  torn  off.  We  can  only  discern  that  the 
roll  prepared  by  Rensi's  secretaries  is  taken  by  him  to 
the  king,  who  found  "it  more  pleasant  to  (his)  heart 
than  anything  in  this  whole  land."  3    The  king  commands 

1  In  such  an  utterance  as  this  it  is  important  to  remember  that 
"truth"  is  always  the  same  word  which  the  Egyptian  employs  for 
"right,  righteousness,  justice,"  according  to  the  connection  in  which 
it  is  used.  In  such  an  injunction  as  this  we  cannot  distinguish  any 
particular  one  of  these  concepts  to  the  exclusion  of  the  rest. 

2  Ibid.,  11.  307-322.  The  word  rendered  "blessedness  hereafter" 
means  "reverence,"  the  state  of  the  revered  dead. 

3  The  same  words  are  used  regarding  the  vizier's  wisdom  in  Pap. 
Prisse  (2,  6-7).    See  below,  p.  228. 


226    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  grand  steward  to  decide  the  peasant's  case,  the  at- 
tendants bring  in  the  census-rolls,  which  determine  where 
he  officially  belongs,  his  exact  legal  and  social  status,  the 
number  of  people  in  his  household,  and  the  amount  of 
his  property.  Less  than  a  dozen  broken  words  follow, 
from  which  it  is  probable  that  Thutenakht  was  punished, 
and  that  the  possessions  of  that  greedy  and  plundering 
official  were  bestowed  upon  the  peasant. 

The  high  ideal  of  justice  to  the  poor  and  oppressed 
set  forth  in  this  tale  is  but  a  breath  of  that  wholesome 
moral  atmosphere  which  pervades  the  social  thinking  of 
the  official  class.  It  is  remarkable,  indeed,  to  find  these 
aristocrats  of  the  Pharaoh's  court  four  thousand  years 
ago  sufficiently  concerned  for  the  welfare  of  the  lower 
classes  to  have  given  themselves  the  trouble  to  issue 
what  are  very  evidently  propaganda  for  a  regime  of  jus- 
tice and  kindness  toward  the  poor.  They  were  pam- 
phleteers in  a  crusade  for  social  justice.  They  have  made 
this  particular  pamphlet,  too,  very  pleasant  reading  for 
the  patrician  class  to  whom  it  was  directed.  In  spite  of 
the  constant  obscurity  of  the  language,  the  florid  style, 
and  the  bold  and  extreme  figures  of  speech,  it  enjoyed  a 
place  as  literature  of  a  high  order  in  its  day.  It  is  evi- 
dently in  the  approved  style  of  its  age,  and  the  pungent 
humor  which  here  and  there  reaches  the  surface  could 
but  enhance  the  literary  reputation  of  the  tractate  in  the 
estimation  of  the  humor-loving  Egyptians.  But  it  was 
literature  with  a  moral  purpose. 

It  is  probable  that  the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep,1  the  other 

1  The  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep  is  preserved  in  five  manuscripts:  (1) 
the  Papyrus  Prisse  in  the  Bibliotheque  Nationale,  Paris,  Nos.  183- 
194;  (2)  the  three  papyri  in  the  British  Museum,  Nos.  10371,  10435, 
and  10509;  a  wooden  writing-tablet,  or  board,  in  the  Cairo  Museum, 
known  as  the  Tablette  Carnarvon,  No.  41790.  The  Papyrus  Prisse 
was  published  by  the  owner,  E.  Prisse  D'Avennes  (Facsimile  d'un 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  227 

social  tractate  of  the  official  class,  did  not  enjoy  the  same 
popularity.  It  is  not  so  clearly  cast  in  the  form  of  a  tale, 
though  it  does  not  lack  dramatic  setting.  Like  the  Elo- 
quent Peasant,  the  action  is  placed  under  an  earlier  king. 
Indeed,  the  most  important  manuscript  of  Ptahhotep  pur- 
ports to  contain  also  the  wisdom  of  a  still  earlier  sage 
who  lived  a  thousand  years  before  the  Feudal  Age.  The 
composition  attributed  to  the  earlier  wise  man  preceded 
that  of  Ptahhotep  in  the  roll  and  probably  formed  its 
beginning  and  first  half.  All  but  a  few  passages  at  the 
end  have  been  torn  off,  but  its  conclusion  is  instructive 
as  furnishing  part  of  the  historical  setting  of  earlier  days 
in  which  this  school  of  sages  were  wont  to  place  their 
teachings.  Following  the  last  fourteen  lines  of  his  in- 
struction, all  that  is  preserved,  we  find  the  conclusion 
of  the  unknown  sage's  life: 

"The  vizier  (for  such  he  purports  to  have  been)  caused 
his  children  to  be  summoned,  after  he  had  discerned  the 

papyrus  egyptien,  Paris,  1847).  It  was  republished,  together  with 
all  the  other  manuscripts  (except  B.  M.,  10509),  by  G.  Jequier  (Le 
Papyrus  Prisse,  et  ses  variantes,  Paris,  1911).  The  Carnarvon 
tablet  was  published  in  transcription,  with  discussion  of  its  relation 
to  the  Papyrus  Prisse  by  Maspero,  in  Recueil  de  travaux,  XXXI, 
146-153,  and  afterward  by  the  Earl  of  Carnarvon  in  his  beau- 
tiful volume,  Five  Years'  Excavations  at  Thebes,  Oxford  Univ.  Press, 
1912  (discussed  by  Griffith,  pp.  36-37,  and  reproduced  pi.  xxvii). 
The  five  columns  contained  in  Brit.  Mus.  Pap.,  No.  10509,  were 
published  by  Budge,  Facsimiles  of  Egyptian  Hieratic  Papyri  in 
the  British  Museum,  London,  1910,  pis.  xxxiv-xxxviii,  pp.  xvii-xxi. 
This  reached  me  too  late  to  be  employed  above.  Like  the  other 
Wisdom  literature,  or  semi-philosophical  tractates  discussed  above, 
Papyrus  Prisse  is  excessively  difficult.  The  old  translations,  as  their 
divergences  from  each  other  show,  are  too  conjectural  to  be  used 
with  safety.  An  exhaustive  study  on  the  basis  of  modern  gram- 
matical knowledge  would  undoubtedly  render  much  of  it  intelligible, 
although  a  large  proportion  of  it  is  too  obscure  and  too  corrupt  in 
text  ever  to  be  translated  with  certainty. 


228     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

fashion  of  men  and  their  character  rcame  to  him1.1  .  .  . 
He  said  to  them:  'As  for  everything  that  is  in  writing  in 
this  roll,  hear  it  as  I  say  it  ras  an  added  obligation1. '  They 
threw  themselves  upon  their  bellies,  they  read  it  accord- 
ing to  that  which  was  in  writing.  It  was  pleasanter  to 
their  hearts  than  anything  that  is  in  this  whole  land.2 
Then  they  rose  up  and  they  sat  down  accordingly.  Then 
the  majesty  of  the  king  of  Upper  and  Lower  Egypt  Huni 
died,  and  the  majesty  of  the  king  of  Upper  and  Lower 
Egypt  Snefru  was  established  as  excellent  king  in  this 
whole  land.  Then  Kegemne  was  appointed  to  be  gov- 
ernor of  the  (residence)  city  and  vizier.  It  (the  book) 
is  ended."  3  Presumably,  the  career  of  the  nameless  old 
vizier  and  sage  of  the  Third  Dynasty,  into  whose  mouth 
the  wisdom  of  the  Twelfth  Dynasty  was  put,  ended  with 
the  life  of  his  king  and  the  advent  of  a  new  vizier.4  It 
is  evident  that  social  ethics  as  taught  by  the  sages  of  the 
Twelfth  Dynasty  (Feudal  Age)  was  also  commonly  at- 
tributed by  them  to  the  viziers  of  the  Pyramid  Age,  for 
we  shall  find  that  this  was  the  case  also  with  the  Wisdom 
of  Ptahhotep,  which  was  the  next  roll  taken  up  by  the 
copyist  as  he  resumed  this  pen,  leaving  an  interval  to 
mark  the  end  of  the  old  book  which  he  had  just  finished. 
The  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep  begins:  "The  instruction 
of  the  governor  of  the  city  and  vizier,  Ptahhotep,  under 
the  majesty  of  the  king  of  Upper  and  Lower  Egypt, 
Isesi,  who  lives  for  ever  and  ever.  The  governor  of  the 
city  and  vizier  Ptahhotep  says,  'O  king,  my  lord,  in- 
firmity comes  on,  old  age  advances,  the  limbs  weaken, 

1On  the  rendering,  see  Gardiner,  Admonitions,  p.  107,  n.  1. 

2  The  same  statement  is  made  regarding  the  roll  containing  the 
speeches  of  the  Eloquent  Peasant.     See  above,  p.  225. 

3  Papyrus  Prisse,  pp.  1  and  2. 

4  This  vizier,  Kegemne,  was  also  a  famous  wise  man. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  229 

^feebleness1  is  renewed,  strength  perishes  because  of  the 
languor  of  the  heart  (understanding).  The  mouth  is 
silent  and  speaks  not;  the  eyes  wax  small,  the  ears  are 
dulled.  The  languid  heart  sleeps  every  day.  The  heart 
forgets,  it  remembers  not  yesterday.  .  .  .  That  which  is 
good  becomes  evil.  All  taste  departs.  That  which  old 
age  does  to  people  is  evil  in  everything.  The  nostrils 
are^stopped  up,  they  breathe  not.  It  is  evil  whether  one 
stands  or  sits.  Let  thy  servant  be  commanded  to  furnish 
the  staff  of  old  age.1  Let  my  son  stand  in  my  place,  and 
let  me  instruct  him  according  to  the  word  of  those  who 
have  heard  the  manner  of  the  ancestors,  that  (word) 
which  the  forefathers  served,  (variant:  "which  the  gods 
have  heard")-  May  they  do  likewise  for  thee;  may  re- 
volt be  suppressed  among  the  people  (of  Egypt),  may  the 
Two  Lands  serve  thee.'" 

"Said  his  majesty:  ' Instruct  him  after  the  word  of 
old.  May  he  do  marvels  among  the  children  of  the 
princes.  .  .  .'" 

The  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep  then  purports  to  have  been 
uttered  by  a  historical  personage  on  a  particular  occasion. 
In  the  Fifth  Dynasty,  to  which  king  Isesi  belonged,  there 
was  indeed  a  line  of  viziers  named  Ptahhotep,  who  trans- 
mitted the  office  from  father  to  son.  The  reign  of  Isesi 
fell  about  five  hundred  years  earlier  than  the  Feudal 
Age  in  which  we  find  his  wise  vizier's  wisdom  in  circula- 
tion. Ptahhotep  petitions  the  king  to  appoint  his  son  to 
the  vizierial  office  in  his  place,  because  of  advancing  old 
age,  the  ills  of  which  he  graphically  enumerates.     In  order 

1  Literally  "old  man's  staff,"  which  is  a  technical  term  for  son  and 
heir  or  successor.  See  BAR,  I,  692,  and  Griffith  in  the  notes  on 
Bersheh,  I,  pi.  xxxiii.  What  is  meant  is,  that  the  vizier,  as  the  nar- 
rative shows,  desires  to  be  commanded  to  instruct  his  son  as  his 
successor. 


230    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

that  his  son  may  be  informed  in  the  duties  of  so  important 
an  office,  the  vizier  craves  of  the  king  permission  to  in- 
struct him.  While  it  is  characteristic  of  the  attitude  of 
the  inner  official  circle  that  the  wisdom  communicated 
should  be  designated  as  that  which  has  descended  from 
the  fathers,  its  cautious  mandates  for  right  and  whole- 
some living  and  for  discreet  official  conduct  may  quite 
conceivably  represent  the  sum  total  of  the  ripe  experience 
of  many  generations  of  official  life.  While  such  men  as 
the  Misanthrope,  Khekheperre-sonbu,  and  to  a  large  ex- 
tent also  even  Ipuwer  had  lost  all  confidence  in  the  con- 
ventional virtue  of  the  official  world,  the  doctrines  of  the 
Eloquent  Peasant  and  the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep  reveal 
to  us  that  at  least  a  nucleus  of  the  best  men  of  the  official 
class  and  the  court  still  felt  confidence  in  the  good  old 
manner  of  living  which  had  come  down  from  their  pred- 
ecessors, if  carefully  conserved,  and  the  principles  of 
virtue  persistently  inculcated.  Like  all  such  fancied  con- 
servation, it  contains  clear  evidences  of  the  current  and 
modern  point  of  view,  so  much  so  indeed  that  there  is 
ground  for  another  interpretation  of  the  historical  setting, 
namely,  that  it  was  used  merely  to  give  prestige  to  a  set 
of  teachings  which  were  for  the  most  part  modern.  If  so, 
the  device  is  in  sharp  contrast  with  the  open  avowal  of 
Khekheperre-sonbu  that  he  sought  new  views  and  words 
which  had  not  become  hackneyed  by  generations  of  use. 

Having  received  the  king's  permission,  Ptahhotep  enters 
upon  the  instruction  of  his  son.  "Beginning  of  the  say- 
ings of  the  good  word  which  the  hereditary  prince,  the 
count,  the  divine  father,  the  priest,  the  eldest  son  of  the 
king,  of  his  body,  the  governor  of  the  city,  the  vizier, 
Ptahhotep  said,  as  instruction  of  the  ignorant  to  knowl- 
edge, according  to  the  correctness  of  the  good  word,  as  a 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  231 

profitable  thing  for  him  who  is  obedient  to  it,  and  as  an 
evil  thing  for  him  who  transgresses  it."  l 

The  introduction  concludes  with  a  short  paragraph  on 
the  desirability  of  humility  in  wisdom  in  spite  of  its  high 
value.  Then  begin  the  forty-three  paragraphs  into  which 
the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep  is  divided.  There  is  not  space 
here  either  for  the  entire  text  of  this  excessively  difficult 
tractate  or  for  the  commentary  necessary  to  make  it 
intelligible  to  the  modern  reader.  Nor  even  so,  on  the 
basis  of  our  modern  knowledge  of  the  language,  is  it  pos- 
sible to  render  the  document  as  a  whole.2 

The  following  table  of  the  rubrics  heading  the  para- 
graphs and  suggesting  in  each  case  the  subject  discussed 
will  serve,  however,  to  indicate  the  ground  which  the 
wise  man  endeavored  to  cover.  Where  distinctly  ethical 
problems  are  involved  I  have  added  to  the  rubric  as  much 
of  the  text  as  I  found  intelligible. 

1.  "If  thou  findest  a  wise  man  in  his  time,  a  leader  of 
understanding  more  excellent  than  thou,  bend  thy  arms 
and  bow  thy  back"  3  (5,  10-12). 

2.  "If  thou  findest  a  wise  man  in  his  time,  thy  equal, 
...  be  not  silent  when  he  speaks  evil.  Great  is  the  ap- 
proval by  those  who  hear,  and  thy  name  will  be  good  in 
the  knowledge  of  the  princes"  (5,  13-14). 

3.  "  If  thou  findest  a  wise  man  in  his  time,  a  poor  man 

JThe  Carnarvon  Tablet  ends  here.  It  furnishes  some  valuable 
variants  which  have  been  incorporated  above. 

2  We  very  much  need  an  exhaustive  treatment  of  the  text,  with 
careful  word  studies  such  as  Gardiner  has  prepared  for  the  Admoni- 
tions of  Ipuwer.  The  summary  offered  above  makes  no  pretension 
to  rest  upon  any  such  study  of  the  text,  but  perhaps  presents  enough 
for  the  purposes  of  this  volume.  See  also  Griffith,  in  Warner's 
Library  of  the  World's  Best  Literature. 

3  These  references  include  the  entire  paragraph  in  each  case.  All 
refer  to  Pap.  Prisse. 


232     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

and  not  thy  equal,  be  not  overbearing  against  him  when 
he  is  unfortunate"  (6,  1-2). 

4.  "If  thou  art  a  leader  (or  'administrator')  issuing 
ordinances  for  the  multitude,  seek  for  thee  every  excellent 
matter,  that  thy  ordinance  may  endure  without  evil 
therein.  Great  is  righteousness  (truth,  right,  justice), 
enduring  .  .  .;  it  has  not  been  disturbed  since  the  time 
of  Osiris"  (6,3-7). 

5.  "Put  no  fear  (of  thee?)  among  the  people.  .  .  . 
What  the  god  commands  is  that  which  happens.  There- 
fore live  in  the  midst  of  quiet.  What  they  (the  gods?) 
give  comes  of  itself"  (6,  8-10). 

6.  "  If  thou  art  a  man  of  those  who  sit  by  the  seat  of  a 
man  greater  than  thou,  take  what  (food)  he  gives,  .  .  . 
look  at  what  is  before  thee,  and  bombard  x  him  not  with 
many  glances  (don't  stare  at  him).  .  .  .  Speak  not  to 
him  until  he  calls.  One  knows  not  what  is  unpleasant  to 
(his)  heart.  Speak  thou  when  he  greets  thee,  and  what 
thou  sayest  will  be  agreeable  to  (his)  heart"  (6,  11-7,  3). 

7.  "  If  thou  art  a  man  of  rthose  who1  enter,  whom  (one) 
prince  sends  to  (another)  prince,  .  .  .  execute  for  him 
the  commission  according  as  he  saith.  Beware  of  •alter- 
ing1 a  word  which  (one)  prince  ^speaks1  to  (another)  prince, 
by  displacing  the  truth  with  the  like  of  it"  (7,  3-5). 

8.  "  If  thou  ploughest  and  there  is  growth  in  the  field, 
the  god  gives  it  (as)  increase  in  thy  hand.  Satisfy  not 
thine  own  mouth  beside  thy  kin"  (7,  5-6). 

9.  "If  thou  art  insignificant,  follow  an  able  man  and 
all  thy  proceedings  shall  be  good  before  the  god"  (7,  7-8). 

10.  "  Follow  thy  desire  as  long  as  thou  livest.  Do  not 
more  than  is  told  (thee).  Shorten  not  the  time  of  follow- 
ing desire.     It  is  an  abomination  to  encroach  upon  the 

,l  The  word  really  means  "  to  shoot." 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  233 

time  thereof.  ^Take1  no  ^care1  daily  beyond  the  main- 
tenance of  thy  house.  When  possessions  come,  follow 
desire,  (for)  possessions  are  not  complete  when  he  (the 
owner)  is  ^harassed1"  (7,  9-10). 

11.  "If  thou  art  an  able  man"  (give  attention  to  the 
conduct  of  thy  son)  (7,  10-8,  1). 

12.  "If  thou  art  in  the  judgment-hall,  standing  or  sit- 
ting" (8,  2-6). 

13.  "If  thou  art  together  with  people"  (8,  6-11). 

14.  "Report  thy  procedure  without  ^reservation1.  Pre- 
sent thy  plan  in  the  council  of  thy  lord"  (8,  11-13). 

15.  "If  thou  art  a  leader"  (or  "administrator") 
(8,  14-9,  3). 

16.  "If  thou  art  a  leader  (or  ' administrator'),  hear 
'quietly1  the  speech  of  the  petitioner.  He  who  is  suffering 
wrong  desires  that  his  heart  be  cheered  to  do  that  on  ac- 
count of  which  he  has  come.  ...  It  is  an  ornament  of 
the  heart  to  hear  kindly"  (9,  3-6). 

17.  "If  thou  desirest  to  establish  friendship  in  a  house, 
into  which  thou  enterest  as  lord,  as  brother,  or  as  friend, 
wheresoever  thou  enterest  in,  beware  of  approaching  the 
women.  ...  A  thousand  men  are  undone  for  the  enjoy- 
ment of  a  brief  moment  like  a  dream.  Men  gain  (only) 
death  for  knowing  them"  (9,  7-13). 

18.  "If  thou  desirest  that  thy  procedure  be  good, 
withhold  thee  from  all  evil,  beware  of  occasion  of  avarice. 
...  He  who  enters  therein  does  not  get  on.  It  corrupts 
fathers,  mothers,  and  mother's  brothers.  It  ^divides1  wife 
and  man;  it  is  plunder  (made  up)  of  everything  evil;  it 
is  a  bundle  of  everything  base.  Established  is  the  man 
whose  standard  is  righteousness,  who  walks  according  to 
its  way.  He  is  used  to  make  his  fortune  thereby,  (but) 
the  avaricious  is  houseless"  (9,  13-10,  5). 


234    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

19.  "Be  not  avaricious  in  dividing.  .  .  .  Be  not  avari- 
cious toward  thy  kin.  Greater  is  the  fame  of  the  gentle 
than  (that  of)  the  harsh"  (10,  5-8). 

20.  "  If  thou  art  successful,  establish  thy  house.  Love 
thy  wife  in  husbandly  embrace,  fill  her  body,  clothe  her 
back.  The  recipe  for  her  limbs  is  ointment.  Gladden 
her  heart  as  long  as  thou  livest.  She  is  a  profitable  field 
for  her  lord"  (10,  8-12). * 

21.  "Satisfy  those  who  enter  to  thee  (come  into  thy 
office)  with  that  which  thou  hast"  (11,  1-4). 

22.  "Repeat  not  a  word  of  'hearsay1"  (11,  5-7). 

23.  "If  thou  art  an  able  man  who  sits  in  the  council  of 
his  lord,  summon  thy  understanding  to  excellent  things. 
Be  silent"  (for  speech  is  difficult)  (11,  8-11). 

24.  "If  thou  art  a  strong  man,  establish  the  respect  of 
thee  by  wisdom  and  by  quietness  of  speech"  (11, 12-12,  6). 

25.  "'Approach1  not  a  prince  in  his  time"  2  (12,  6-9). 

26.  "Instruct  a  prince  (or  'official')  in  that  which  is 
profitable  for  him"  (12,  9-13). 

27.  "  If  thou  art  the  son  of  a  man  of  the  council,  com- 
missioned to  content  the  multitude,  ...  be  not  partial. 
Beware  lest  he  (the  man  of  the  multitude?)  say,  'His  plan 
is  (rthat  of1)  the  princes.  He  utters  the  word  in  partiality  " 
(13,1-4). 

28.  "If  thou  art  gentle  In1  a  matter  that  occurs" 
(13,  4-5). 

29.  "  If  thou  becomest  great  after  thou  wert  little,  and 
gettest  possessions  after  thou  wert  formerly  poor  in  the 
city,  ...  be  not  'proud1  -hearted  because  of  thy  wealth. 
It  has  come  to  thee  as  a  gift  of  the  god"  (13,  6-9). 

1  Mohammed  makes  essentially  the  same  remark  in  the  Koran. 

2  "In  his  time"  is  seemingly  an  idiom  for  some  particular  mood. 
See  also  paragraphs  1-3  above. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  235 

30.  "Bend  thy  back  to  thy  superior,  thy  overseer  of 
the  king's  house,  and  thy  house  shall  endure  because  of 
his  (or  'its')  possessions  and  thy  reward  shall  be  in  the 
place  thereof.  It  is  evil  to  show  disobedience  to  a  supe- 
rior.    One  lives  as  long  as  he  is  gentle"  (13,  9-14,  4). 

31.  "Do  not  practise  corruption  of  children"  (14,  4-6). 

32.  "If  thou  searchest  the  character  of  a  friend,  .  .  . 
transact  the  matter  with  him  when  he  is  alone"  (14,  6-12). 

33.  "Let  thy  face  be  bright  as  long  as  thou  livest.  rAs 
for  what  goes  out  of  the  storehouse,  it  comes  not  in  again; 
and  as  for  loaves  (already)  distributed,  he  who  is  con- 
cerned therefor  has  still  an  empty  stomach1"  ("There  is 
no  use  crying  over  spilt  milk?")  (14,  12-15,  2). 

34.  "Know  thy  merchants  when  thy  fortunes  are  evil" 
(15,  2-5). 

35.  Quite  uncertain  (15,  5-6). 

36.  "If  thou  takest  a  wife"  (15,  6-8). 

37.  "If  thou  hearkenest  to  these  things  which  I  have 
said  to  thee,  all  thy  plans  will  progress.  As  for  the  matter 
of  the  righteousness  thereof,  it  is  their  worth.  The  memory 
thereof  shall  •circulate1  in  the  mouths  of  men,  because  of 
the  beauty  of  their  utterances.  Every  word  will  be  car- 
ried on  and  not  perish  in  this  land  forever.  ...  He  who 
understands  'discretion1  is  profitable  in  establishing  that 
through  which  he  succeeds  on  earth.  A  wise  man  is  rsat- 
isfied1  by  reason  of  that  which  he  knows.  As  for  a  prince 
of  good  qualities,  rthey  are  in1  his  heart  and  his  tongue. 
His  lips  are  right  when  he  speaks,  his  eyes  see,  and  his 
ears  together  hear  what  is  profitable  for  his  son.  Do 
right  (righteousness,  truth,  justice),  free  from  lying" 
(15,  8-16,  2). 

38.  "Profitable  is  hearkening  for  a  son  that  hearkens. 
.  .  .  How  good  it  is  when  a  son  receives  that  which  his 


236    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

father  says.  He  shall  reach  advanced  age  thereby.  A 
hearkener  is  one  whom  the  god  loves.  Who  hearkens  not 
is  one  whom  the  god  hates.  It  is  the  heart  (= under- 
standing) which  makes  its  possessor  a  hearkener  or  one 
not  hearkening.  The  life  prosperity  and  health  of  a  man 
is  his  heart.  The  hearkener  is  one  who  hears  and  speaks. 
He  who  does  what  is  said,  is  one  who  loves  to  hearken. 
How  good  it  is  when  a  son  hearkens  to  his  father!  How 
happy  is  he  to  whom  these  things  are  said!  .  .  .  His 
memory  is  in  the  mouth  of  the  living  who  are  on  earth 
and  those  who  shall  be"  (16,  3-12). 

39.  "  If  the  son  of  a  man  receives  what  his  father  says, 
none  of  his  plans  will  miscarry.  Instruct  as  thy  son  one 
who  hearkens,  who  shall  be  successful  in  the  judgment  of 
the  princes,  who  directs  his  mouth  according  to  that 
which  is  said  to  him.  .  .  .  How  many  mishaps  befall  him 
who  hearkens  not!  The  wise  man  rises  early  to  establish 
himself,  while  the  fool  is  Scourged1"  (16,  13-17,  4).  ^ 

40.  "  As  for  the  fool  who  hearkens  not,  he  accomplishes 
nothing.  He  regards  wisdom  as  ignorance,  and  what  is 
profitable  as  diseased.  ...  His  life  is  like  death  thereby, 
...  he  dies,  living  every  day.  Men  pass  by  (avoid?) 
his  qualities,  because  of  the  multitude  of  evils  upon  him 
every  day"  (17,  4-9). 

41.  "A  son  who  hearkens  is  a  follower  of  Horus.  He 
prospers  after  he  hearkens.  He  reaches  old  age,  he  at- 
tains reverence.  He  speaks  likewise  to  his  (own)  chil- 
dren, renewing  the  instruction  of  his  father.  Every  man 
who  instructs  is  like  his  sire.  He  speaks  with  his  chil- 
dren; then  they  speak  to  their  children.  Attain  char- 
acter, .  .  .  make  righteousness  to  flourish  and  thy  chil- 
dren shall  live"  (17,  10-18,  12). 

42.  Concerns  "thy  heart"  (understanding)  and  "thy 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  237 

mouth."  "Let  thy  attention  be  steadfast  as  long  as  thou 
speakest,  whither  thou  directest  thy  speech.  May  the 
princes  who  shall  hear  say, '  How  good  is  that  which  comes 
out  of  his  mouth!'"  (18,  12-19,  3). 

43.  "So  do  that  thy  lord  shall  say  to  thee,  'How  good 
is  the  instruction  of  his  father  from  whose  limbs  he  came 
forth!  He  has  spoken  to  him;  it  is  in  (his)  body  through- 
out. Greater  is  that  which  he  has  done  than  that  which 
was  said  to  him/  Behold,  a  good  son,  whom  the  god  gives, 
renders  more  than  that  which  his  lord  says  to  him.  He 
does  right  (righteousness,  etc.),  his  heart  acts  according 
to  his  way.  According  as  thou  attainest  me  ('what  I 
have  attained'),  thy  limbs  shall  be  healthy,  the  king  shall 
be  satisfied  with  all  that  occurs,  and  thou  shalt  attain 
years  of  life  not  less  [•than1]  I  have  passed  on  earth.  I 
have  attained  one  hundred  and  ten  years  of  life,  while 
the  king  gave  to  me  praise  above  (that  of)  the  ancestors 
(in  the  vizierial  office)  because  I  did  righteousness  for 
the  king  even  unto  the  place  of  reverence  (the  grave) "  l 
(19,  3-8). 

In  the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep  we  have  what  purports 
to  be  the  ripe  worldly  wisdom  of  a  seasoned  old  states- 
man and  courtier,  with  a  long  life  of  experience  with  men 
and  affairs  behind  him.  Nor  do  they  in  any  way  belie 
their  assumed  authorship.  It  is  easy  to  picture  a  self- 
satisfied  old  prince  looking  back  with  vast  complacency 
upon  his  long  career,  and  drawing  out  of  his  wide  experi- 
ence, with  no  attempt  at  arrangement,  the  precepts  of 
conduct,  official  and  personal,  which  he  has  found  valu- 
able.   As  a  matter  of  fact,  however,  it  is  evident  that 

1  This  is  the  end  of  the  original,  for  the  scribe's  docket  in  red  fol- 
lows, reading  as  usual:  "It  is  finished  from  its  beginning  to  its  end 
according  to  what  was  found  in  writing"  (19,  9). 


238     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

we  have  here  a  collection  of  precepts  which  had  grown 
up  among  the  officials  of  the  Egyptian  state  when  this 
compilation  was  made  and  put  into  the  mouth  of  Ptah- 
hotep.  Some  of  them  are  doubtless  much  older  than  the 
collection  itself;  but  in  the  main  they  reflect  to  us  the 
conventional  daily  philosophy  of  the  wisest  among  the 
official  body  in  the  Feudal  Age. 

Over  half  of  these  admonitions  deal  with  personal 
character  and  conduct,  while  the  remainder  have  to  do 
with  administration  and  official  conduct.1  In  general 
they  inculcate  gentleness,  moderation,  and  discretion 
without  lack  of  self-assertion,  displaying  indeed  the  sound- 
est good  sense  in  the  poise  and  balance  to  which  they 
commend  the  young  man.  There  is  none  of  the  sombre 
pessimism  of  the  Misanthrope  or  Khekheperre-sonbu. 
Life  is  abundantly  worth  while.  A  wholesome  amount 
of  pleasure  is  to  be  taken,  and  official  or  other  burdens 
are  not  to  be  allowed  to  curtail  the  hours  of  relaxation 
(see  paragraph  10).  Moreover,  a  man  should  always 
wear  a  cheerful  face,  for  "there  is  no  use  in  crying  over 
spilt  milk."  Finally  the  dominant  note  is  a  command- 
ing moral  earnestness  which  pervades  the  whole  homely 
philosophy  of  the  old  vizier's  wisdom.  The  most  promi- 
nent imperative  throughout  is  "do  right,"  and  "deal  justly 
with  all." 

So  prominent  are  justice,  character,  and  moral  ideals 
in  the  surviving  documents  of  this  great  age,  that  I  am 

1  We  may  divide  the  paragraphs  as  numbered  above  roughly  as 
follows : 

Personal  character  and  conduct,  paragraphs  1-3,  6,  8,  10,  11,  13, 
17, 18,  19, 22, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41.    Total,  23  paragraphs. 

Administration  and  official  conduct:  4,  5,  7,  9,  12,  14,  15,  16,  21, 
23,  24,  25,-  26,  27,  28,  30,  39,  42,  43.     Total,  19  paragraphs. 

Uncertain,  paragraph  35. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  239 

confident  we  should  place  here  the  Installation  of  the 
Vizier,  a  traditional  address  orally  delivered  to  the  vi- 
zier by  the  king  in  person  whenever  a  new  incumbent 
was  inducted  into  the  vizierial  office.1  This  remarkable 
address  shows  that  the  spirit  of  the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep 
and  the  Eloquent  Peasant  was  not  exclusively  a  matter 
of  homely  proverbial  philosophy,  current  precepts  of  con- 
duct, or  a  picturesque  story  with  a  moral.  This  spirit 
of  social  justice  pervaded  even  the  very  structure  of  the 
state  and  had  reached  the  throne  itself.  The  address  is 
as  follows: 

1  This  document  has  survived  in  three  different  copies,  each  a 
hieroglyphic  wall  inscription,  in  three  different  tombs  of  the  Eigh- 
teenth Dynasty  at  Thebes.  The  best  preserved  and  most  important 
of  the  three  is  in  the  tomb  of  Rekhmire,  vizier  under  Thutmose  III 
(1501-1447  B.  C).  The  other  two  copies  are  in  the  tomb  of  Woser, 
uncle  and  predecessor  of  Rekhmire,  and  the  tomb  of  Hapu,  vizier 
under  Thutmose  IV  (1420-1411  B.  C.).  These  two  are  little  more 
than  fragments.  The  inscription  was  published,  on  the  basis  of  the 
Rekhmire  text,  by  Newberry,  who  first  discovered  it  (The  Life  of 
Rekhmara,  London,  1900,  pis.  ix-x).  Newberry  placed  the  materials 
from  the  tombs  of  Woser  and  Hapu  at  Gardiner's  disposal,  who  then 
re-edited  the  text  with  excellent  commentary  and  translation  (the 
Installation  of  a  Vizier,  Recueil  de  travaux,  XXVI,  1-19).  The 
document  is  exceedingly  difficult  in  language  and  still  shows  serious 
lacunae.  Further  study  was  given  it  by  Sethe,  who  re-edited  the 
text  in  his  Urkunden  (IX,  1086  jf.).  He  secured  successive  colla- 
tions of  all  the  originals  from  Davies,  and  published  a  final  and  much 
improved  text  with  full  commentary  and  translation  (Die  Einsetzung 
des  Veziers  unter  der  18.  Dynastie,  Leipzig,  1909,  in  Untersuchungen 
zur  GescLichte  und  Altertumskunde  Aegyptens,  V,  2).  The  above 
translation  is  an  adaptation  of  Sethe,  and  should  be  used  in  place 
of  my  former  translation  in  my  Ancient  Records  (II,  665-670). 
While  all  the  texts  date  from  the  fifteenth  century  B.  C,  the  reasons 
for  placing  the  document  in  the  Middle  Kingdom,  at  least  several 
centuries  earlier,  seem  to  me  conclusive.  The  document  refers  to 
a  precedent  from  the  Pyramid  Age  (Old  Kingdom),  and  it  is  in  spirit 
and  thought  closely  related  to  the  social  documents  of  the  Feudal 
Age  above  discussed.  Employing  the  canons  of  historical  criticism 
current  elsewhere,  if  this  document  had  not  borne  a  date,  it  would 


240    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Regulation  laid  upon  the  vizier  X.1  The  council  was 
conducted  into  the  audience  hall  of  Pharaoh,  Life!  Pros- 
perity! Health!  One  (=  the  king)  caused  that  there  be 
brought  in  the  vizier  X,  newly  appointed." 

"Said  his  majesty  to  him,  'Look  to  the  office  of  the 
vizier;  be  watchful  over  all  that  is  done  therein.  Behold 
it  is  the  established  support  of  the  whole  land/ 

"'Behold,  as  for  the  vizierate,  it  is  not  sweet;  behold, 
it  is  bitter,  as  rhe  is  named1.  [Behold],  he  is  copper  en- 
closing the  gold  of  his  [lord's]  house.  Behold  it  (the  vi- 
zierate) is  not  to  show  respect-of-persons  to  princes  and 
councillors;  it  is  not  to  make  for  himself  slaves  of  any 
people.' 

"'Behold,  as  for  a  man  in  the  house  of  his  lord,  his 
•conduct1  is  good  for  him  (the  lord).  (But)  lo,  he  does 
not  the  same  for  another'  (than  the  lord).2 

have  been  placed  in  the  Middle  Kingdom  by  any  unbiassed  critic. 
It  shows  particularly  close  affinity  to  the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep 
(Papyrus  Prisse),  duplicating  not  a  few  of  its  ideas,  and  even  em- 
ploying also  the  same  form  in  some  cases.  For  example  regarding 
proper  and  kind  treatment  of  a  petitioner  the  two  texts  say: 

"A  petitioner  desires  that  his  utterance  be  regarded  rather  than 
the  hearing  of  that  on  account  of  which  he  has  come"  (Installation, 
1.  17). 

"He  who  is  suffering  wrong  desires  that  his  heart  be  cheered  to  do 
that  on  account  of  which  he  has  come"  (Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep, 
Prisse  9,  5;  see  paragraph  16,  above). 

There  is  not  space  here  to  array  the  parallel  materials,  but  I  hope 
to  do  this  elsewhere  in  a  special  study.  I  may  call  attention  to 
Prisse  11,  12-13,  and  10,  6-7  as  containing  doctrines  identical  with 
those  in  the  Installation.  Perhaps  the  most  conclusive  evidence  is 
the  social  policy  of  Ameni  ("I  did  not  exalt  the  great  above  the 
small"),  almost  an  epitome  of  the  Installation  address,  and  of  un- 
questionable Middle  Kingdom  date. 

1  Here  of  course  was  the  name  of  the  vizier,  varying  from  incum- 
bent to  incumbent. 

2  The  meaning  of  course  is  that  the  vizier  is  to  be  loyal  to  his  lord, 
the  king,  to  whose  house  he  is  attached. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  241 

"'Behold,  when  a  petitioner  comes  from  Upper  or 
Lower  Egypt  (even)  the  whole  land,  equipped  with  .  .  . 
see  thou  to  it  that  everything  is  done  in  accordance  with 
law,  that  everything  is  done  according  to  the  custom 
thereof,  [giving]  to  [^every  man1]  his  right.  Behold  a 
prince  is  in  a  conspicuous  place,  water  and  wind  report 
concerning  all  that  he  does.  For  behold,  that  which  is 
done  by  him  never  remains  unknown.' 

When  he  takes  up  a  matter  [for  a  petitioner  according 
to  his  case,  he  (the  vizier)  shall  not  proceed  by  the  state- 
ment of  a  departmental  officer.1  But  it  (the  matter  under 
consideration)  shall  be  known  by  the  statement  of  one 
designated  by  him  (the  vizier),  saying  it  himself  in  the 
presence  of  a  departmental  officer  with  the  words :  "  It  is 
not  that  I  raise  my  voice;  (but)  I  send  the  petitioner 
[according  to]  his  [case  to  ^another  court1]  or  prince.'' 
Then  that  which  has  been  done  by  him  has  not  been 
misunderstood.' 

"'Behold  the  refuge  of  a  prince  is  to  act  according  to 
the  regulation  by  doing  what  is  said'  (to  him).2  A  peti- 
tioner who  has  been  adjudged  [rshall  not  say1]:  'My 
right  has  not  been  given  to*  [me].' 

"Behold,  it  is  a  saying  which  was  in  the  rvizierial  in- 
stallation1 of  Memphis  in  the  utterance  of  the  king  in 
urging  the  vizier  to  moderation  .  .  .  "[Bewar]e  of  that 
which  is  said  of  the  vizier  Kheti.  It  is  said  that  he  dis- 
criminated against  some  of  the  people  of  his  own  kin 
[in  favor  of]  strangers,  for  fear  lest  it  should  be  said  of 
him  that  he  [favored]  his  [kin  dishon]estly.    When  one  of 

1  That  is,  an  officer  belonging  to  the  staff  of  the  vizier  who  has  heard 
the  matters  reported  at  second  hand,  lest  misunderstanding  should 
result,  when  the  vizier  handles  or  acts  on  cases  from  another  court. 

2  Compare  Prisse,  7,  9. 


242     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

them  appealed  against  the  judgment  which  he  thought 
•to  make1  him,  he  persisted  in  his  discrimination. "  Now 
that  is  more  than  justice/ 

"'  Forget  not  to  judge  justice.  It  is  an  abomination  of 
the  god  to  show  partiality.  This  is  the  teaching.  There- 
fore do  thou  accordingly.  Look  upon  him  who  is  known 
to  thee  like  him  who  is  unknown  to  thee;  and  him  who 
is  near  the  king  like  him  who  is  far  from  [his  house]. 
Behold,  a  prince  who  does  this,  he  shall  endure  here  in 
this  place.' 

"Pass  not  over  a  petitioner  without  regarding  his 
speech.  If  there  is  a  petitioner  who  shall  appeal  to  thee, 
being  one  whose  speech  is  not  what  is  said,1  dismiss  him 
after  having  let  him  hear  that  on  account  of  which  thou 
dismissest  him.  Behold,  it  is  said:  "A  petitioner  desires 
that  his  saying  be  regarded  rather  than  the  hearing  of 
that  on  account  of  which  he  has  come. " ' 

"'Be  not  wroth  against  a  man  wrongfully;  (but)  be 
thou  wroth  at  that  at  which  one  should  be  wroth. ' 

" '  Cause  thyself  to  be  feared.  Let  men  be  afraid  of  thee. 
A  prince  is  a  prince  of  whom  one  is  afraid.  Behold,  the 
dread  of  a  prince  is  that  he  does  justice.  Behold,  if  a 
man  causes  himself  to  be  feared  a  multitude  of  times, 
there  is  something  wrong  in  him  in  the  opinion  of  the 
people.  They  do  not  say  of  him,  "He  is  a  man  (indeed). " 
Behold,  the  ffearl  of  a  prince  [^deters!]  the  liar,  when  he 
(the  prince)  proceeds  according  to  the  dread  of  him.  Be- 
hold, this  shalt  thou  attain  by  administering  this  office, 
doing  justice/ 

"'Behold,  men  expect  the  doing  of  justice  in  the  pro- 
cedure [of]  the  vizier.     Behold,  that  is  its  (justice's)  cus- 

1  Meaning  either  what  is  said  and  thus  proven  by  witnesses,  or 
what  should  not  be  said,  impropriety  of  speech. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  243 

tomary  [law1]  since  the  god.  Behold,  it  is  said  concern- 
ing the  scribe  of  the  vizier:  "A  just  scribe,"  is  said  of 
him.  Now,  as  for  the  hall  in  which  thou  "nearest"  there 
is  an  audience-hall  therein  [^for1]  hhe  announcement1  of 
judgments.  Now,  as  for  "him  who  shall  do  justice  be- 
fore all  the  people,"  it  is  the  vizier.' 

" '  Behold,  when  a  man  is  in  his  office,  he  acts  according 
to  what  is  commanded  him.  [Behold]  the  success  of  a 
man  is  that  he  act  according  to  what  is  said  to  him. 
Make  no  [•delay1]  at  all  in  justice,  the  law  of  which  thou 
knowest.  Behold,  it  becomes  the  arrogant  that  the  king 
should  love  the  timid  more  than  the  arrogant.' x 

"'Now  mayest  thou  do  according  to  this  command 
that  is  given  thee — behold  it  is  the  manner  of  ^success1 — 
besides  giving  thy  attention  to  the  rcrown1  -lands,  and 
making  the  establishment  thereof.  If  thou  happenest  to 
inspect,  then  shalt  thou  send  to  inspect  the  overseer  of 
^land-measuring1  and  the  ^patrol  of  the  overseer  of  land- 
measuring1.  If  there  be  one  who  shall  inspect  before 
thee,  then  thou  shalt  question  him.' 

"'[Behold  the  regulation]  that  is  laid  up[on]  thee.'" 

The  chief  emphasis  throughout  this  remarkable  state 
document  is  on  social  justice.  The  vizierate  is  not  for 
the  purpose  of  showing  any  preference  "to  princes  and 
councillors"  nor  to  enslave  any  of  the  people.  All  jus- 
tice administered  shall  be  according  to  law  in  every  case, 
not  forgetting  that  the  vizier's  position  is  a  very  con- 
spicuous one,  so  that  all  his  proceedings  are  widely  known 
among  the  people.  Even  the  waters  and  the  winds  re- 
port his  doings  to  all.     Nor  does  justice  mean  that  any 

1  The  same  contrast  between  the  "timid"  and  the  "arrogant"  or 
"violent-hearted"  is  found  in  Ipuwer  (11,  13),  and  is  another  con- 
nection between  the  Installation  and  the  Feudal  Age  documents. 


244     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

injustice  shall  be  shown  those  who  may  be  of  high  sta- 
tion, as  in  the  famous  case  of  the  ancient  Memphite  vi- 
zier Kheti,  who  made  a  decision  against  his  own  kin  in 
spite  of  the  inherent  merits  of  the  case.  This  is  not  justice. 
On  the  other  hand,  justice  means  strict  impartiality,  treat- 
ing without  distinction,  known  and  unknown,  him  who  is 
near  the  king's  person  and  him  who  enjoys  no  connection 
with  the  royal  house.  Such  administration  as  this  will  se- 
cure the  vizier  a  long  tenure  of  office.  While  the  vizier 
must  display  the  greatest  discretion  in  his  wrath,  he  must 
so  demean  himself  as  to  ensure  public  respect  and  even 
fear,  but  this  fear  shall  have  its  sole  basis  in  the  execu- 
tion of  impartial  justice;  for  the  true  "dread  of  a  prince 
is  that  he  does  justice."  Hence  he  will  not  find  it  neces- 
sary repeatedly  and  ostentatiously  to  excite  the  fear  of 
the  people,  which  produces  a  false  impression  among 
them.  The  administration  of  justice  will  prove  a  suffi- 
cient deterrent.  Men  expect  justice  from  the  vizier's  of- 
fice, for  justice  has  been  its  customary  law  since  the 
reign  of  the  Sun-god  on  earth,  and  he  whom  they  prover- 
bially call  "him  who  shall  do  justice  before  all  the  people" 
is  the  vizier.  A  man's  success  in  office  depends  upon  his 
ability  to  follow  instructions.  Therefore  let  there  be  no 
delay  in  the  dispensation  of  justice,  remembering  that 
the  king  loves  the  timid  and  defenceless  more  than  the 
arrogant.  Then  with  a  reference  to  the  lands  which  prob- 
ably formed  the  royal  fortune,  and  the  inspection  of  the 
officials  in  charge  of  them,  the  king  concludes  this  veri- 
table magna  charta  of  the  poor  with  the  words:  "Be- 
hold the  regulation  that  is  laid  upon  thee." 

It  should  be  noted  that  this  programme  of  social  kind- 
ness and  justice,  in  which  the  king  loves  the  timid  and 
defenceless  more  than  the  powerful  and  arrogant,  is  dis- 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  245 

tinctly  religious  in  motive.  "It  is  an  abomination  of  the 
god,"  says  the  king,  "to  show  partiality/'  Moreover, 
justice  has  been  the  traditional  law  of  the  vizier's  office 
since  the  time  when  the  Sun-god  ruled  in  Egypt.  The 
rule  of  the  Pharaoh  which  was  supposed  to  continue  the 
blood  and  the  line  of  Re  was  likewise  continuing  the 
justice  of  the  Sun-god's  ancient  regime  on  earth.  The 
king  lays  his  mandate  unequivocally  upon  the  vizier,  but 
at  the  same  time  he  does  not  hesitate  to  appeal  to  a 
higher  court.  The  vizier  must  do  justice  because  the 
great  god  of  the  state  abhors  injustice,  and  not  solely  be- 
cause the  king  enjoins  it.  Twelve  to  thirteen  hundred 
years  later  we  find  the  Hebrew  prophets  boldly  proclaim- 
ing the  moral  sovereignty  of  Jehovah  as  over  that  of  the 
king,  but  how  many  generations  of  seemingly  fruitless 
ministry  were  required  before  this  contention  of  the 
prophets  found  expression  in  the  spirit  of  the  Hebrew 
government,  much  less  in  royal  pronouncements  such  as 
this  of  the  Feudal  Age  in  Egypt.  Was  it  the  vision  of 
the  ideal  king  held  up  at  the  court  by  Ipuwer,  the  sombre 
picture  of  the  corruption  of  men  painted  by  the  Misan- 
thrope, the  picturesque  scene  of  official  oppression  dis- 
closed in  the  story  of  the  Eloquent  Peasant,  or  the  con- 
ventional tableau  of  father  counselling  son  presented  in 
the  Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep,  which  finally  so  enveloped  the 
throne  in  an  atmosphere  of  social  justice  that  the  instal- 
lation of  the  prime-minister  and  chief-justice  of  the  realm, 
for  such  the  vizier  was,  called  forth  from  the  king  a  speech 
from  the  throne,  an  official  expression  by  the  head  of  the 
state  to  its  highest  executive  officer,  embodying  the  fun- 
damental principles  of  social  justice?  We  have  not  been 
accustomed  to  associate  such  principles  of  government  with 
the  early  East,  nor,  indeed,  even  with  the  modern  Orient. 


246    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Indeed,  when  we  examine  the  Laws  of  Hammurabi,  which 
date  from  the  same  age,  we  find  the  administration  of 
justice  conditioned  by  clear  recognition  of  social  classes. 
For  the  same  crime  the  penalty  and  the  damages  vary 
according  to  the  social  class  of  the  individuals  involved. 
In  the  Installation  of  the  Egyptian  vizier  such  distinc- 
tions are  obliterated  and  all  are  to  be  treated  alike. 
When  Plato  in  his  essay  on  Politics  made  the  State  the 
organized  embodiment  of  justice,  he  probably  little  knew 
that  fifteen  hundred  years  earlier  Egypt  had  adopted 
this  ideal  and  endeavored  to  make  it  reality;  or  is  this 
another  evidence  that  Plato  had  been  in  Egypt,  and  an 
idea  which  he  appropriated  there? 

The  influence  of  such  lofty  ideals  of  social  justice,  which 
thus  found  the  highest  expression  in  government,  was 
no  doubt  in  large  measure  due  to  the  form  in  which  they 
circulated  among  all  classes.  Such  doctrines,  had  they 
been  enunciated  as  abstract  principles,  would  have  at- 
tracted little  attention  and  exerted  little  or  no  influence. 
The  Egyptian,  however,  always  thought  in  concrete  terms 
and  in  graphic  forms.  He  thought  not  of  theft  but  of  a 
thief,  not  of  love  but  of  a  lover,  not  of  poverty  but  of  a 
poor  man:  he  sees  not  social  corruption  but  a  corrupt 
society.  Hence  the  Misanthrope,  a  man  in  whom  social 
injustice  found  expression  in  the  picture  of  a  despairing 
soul  who  tells  of  his  despair  and  its  causes;  hence  Ipu- 
wer,  a  man  in  whom  dwelt  the  vision  to  discern  both  the 
deadly  corruption  of  society  and  the  golden  dream  of  an 
ideal  king  restoring  all;  hence  the  Eloquent  Peasant,  a 
man  suffering  official  oppression  and  crying  out  against 
it;  hence  Ptahhotep,  a  man  meeting  the  obligations  of 
office  with  wholesome  faith  in  righteous  conduct  and  just 
administration  to  engender  happiness,  and  passing  on  this 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  247 

experience  to  his  son ;  hence  even  the  Instruction  of  Ame- 
nemhet,  a  king  suffering  shameful  treachery,  losing  faith 
in  men  and  likewise  communicating  his  experience  to  his 
son.  The  result  is  that  the  doctrines  of  these  social 
thinkers  were  placed  in  a  dramatic  setting,  and  the  doc- 
trines themselves  find  expression  in  dialogue  growing  out 
of  experiences  and  incidents  represented  as  actual.  In  the 
East,  and  doubtless  everywhere,  such  teachings,  we  repeat, 
make  the  most  universal  and  the  most  powerful  appeal 
in  this  form.  It  was  the  form  into  which  the  problem  of 
suffering,  as  graphically  exemplified  in  the  story  of  Job, 
most  naturally  fell.  The  Story  of  Akhikar,  recently  re- 
covered in  its  ancient  Aramaic  form,  is  unquestionably  a 
discourse  on  the  folly  of  ingratitude  which  belongs  in  the 
same  class;  while  the  most  beautiful  of  all  such  tales, 
the  parables  of  Jesus,  adopt  the  method  and  the  form  for 
ages  current  in  the  East.  When  Plato  wished  to  dis- 
course on  the  immortality  of  the  soul,  he  assumed  as  his 
dramatic  setting  the  death  of  Socrates,  and  the  doctrines 
which  he  wished  to  set  forth  took  the  form  of  conversa- 
tion between  Socrates  and  his  friends.1  It  is  hardly  con- 
ceivable that  this  method  of  moralizing  and  philosophiz- 
ing in  dialogue  after  an  introduction  which  throws  the 
whole  essentially  into  the  form  of  a  tale,  a  method  which 
produced  so  many  documents  in  Egypt,  had  no  influence 
on  the  emergence  of  the  dialogue  form  in  Asia  and  Eu- 
rope. It  is  not  likely  that  the  form  originated  indepen- 
dently among  the  Aramaeans,  Hebrews,  and  Greeks.  The 
wide  international  circulation  of  the  Akhikar  tale,  as  we 
have  said  before,  demonstrates  how  such  literary  prod- 
ucts could  travel,  and  it  is  perhaps  significant  that  the 

1  The  analogy  of  the  Platonic  dialogues  was  noticed  by  Gardiner, 
Admonitions,  p.  17. 


248    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

oldest  form  of  the  Akhikar  tale  was  found  in  Egypt.  In 
any  case  it  is  evident  that  the  form  of  the  teachings  of 
these  early  social  thinkers  and  reformers  contributed  much 
to  give  them  a  wide  and  powerful  influence,  an  influence 
which  finally  reached  the  throne  itself,  as  we  have  seen. 

While  we  are,  unhappily,  unable  to  trace  further  the 
influence  of  these  men  in  the  practical  legislation  of  this 
age,  for  the  laws  of  Egypt  have  perished,  the  pervading 
power  of  their  teaching  is  evident  in  the  mortuary  in- 
scriptions of  the  period.  We  leave  the  court  and  journey 
to  the  provinces  and  baronies,  where  we  find  on  the  tomb 
door  of  such  a  baron  as  Ameni  of  Benihasan  the  follow- 
ing account  of  his  administrative  policy  as  lord  of  a 
barony: 

"There  was  no  citizen's  daughter  whom  I  misused, 
there  was  no  widow  whom  I  afflicted,  there  was  no  peas- 
ant whom  I  repulsed  (evicted?),  there  was  no  herdman 
whom  I  repelled,  there  was  no  overseer  of  five  whose 
people  I  took  away  for  (unpaid)  taxes.  There  was  none 
wretched  in  my  community,  there  was  none  hungry  in 
my  time.  When  years  of  famine  came,  I  ploughed  all  the 
fields  of  the  Oryx  barony  (his  estate)  as  far  as  its  southern 
and  its  northern  boundary,  preserving  its  people  alive, 
furnishing  its  food  so  that  there  was  none  hungry  therein. 
I  gave  to  the  widow  as  (to)  her  who  had  a  husband.  I 
did  not  exalt  the  great  (man)  above  the  small  (man)  in 
anything  that  I  gave.  Then  came  great  Niles  (inunda- 
tions), possessors  of  grain  and  all  things,  (but)  I  did  not 
collect  the  arrears  of  the  field. "  1 

In  this  record  we  seem  to  hear  an  echo  of  the  Installa- 
tion of  the  Vizier,  especially  in  the  statement,  "  I  did  not 
exalt  the  great  man  above  the  small  man  in  anything 

1  BAR,  I,  523. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  249 

that  I  gave."  It  is  easy  to  believe  that  such  a  baron  as 
this  had  been  present  at  court  and  had  heard  the  instruc- 
tions of  the  Pharaoh  at  the  vizier's  inauguration.  If  the 
administration  of  Ameni  was  in  any  measure  what  he 
claims  for  it,  we  must  conclude  that  the  social  teachings 
of  the  wise  at  the  court  were  widely  known  among  the 
great  throughout  the  kingdom.  Even  though  we  may 
conclude  that  he  has  idealized  his  rule  to  a  large  extent, 
we  have  still  to  account  for  his  desire  to  create  such  an 
impression  as  we  gain  from  his  biography.  It  is  evident 
that  the  ideals  of  social  justice,  so  insistently  set  forth  in 
the  literature  of  the  age,  had  not  only  reached  the  king, 
but  they  had  also  exerted  a  profound  influence  among 
the  ruling  class  everywhere. 

Herein,  then,  we  may  discern  a  great  transformationT  1 
The  pessimism  with  which  the  men  of  the  early  Feudal  ' 
Age,1  as  they  beheld  the  desolated  cemeteries  of  the  ■ 
Pyramid  Age,  or  as  they  contemplated  the  hereafter, 
and  the  hopelessness  with  which  some  of  them  regarded 
the  earthly  life  were  met  by  a  persistent  counter-current 
in  the  dominant  gospel  of  righteousness  and  social  jus- 
tice set  forth  in  the  hopeful  philosophy  of  more  optimis- 
tic social  thinkers,  men  who  saw  hope  in  positive  effort 
toward  better  conditions.  We  must  regard  the  Admoni- 
tions of  Ipuwer  and  the  Tale  of  the  Eloquent  Peasant 
as  striking  examples  of  such  efforts,  and  we  must  recog- 
nize in  their  writings  the  weapons  of  the  earliest  known 
group  of  moral  and  social  crusaders.  What  more  could 
such  a  man  as  Ipuwer  have  wished  than  the  address  de- 
livered by  the  king  at  the  installation  of  the  vizier?    A 

1  Such  views  are  dated  with  considerable  precision  early  in  the 
Twelfth  Dynasty  by  the  Instruction  of  Amenemhet,  the  first  king 
of  the  dynasty. 


250     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

king  capable  of  delivering  such  an  address  approaches  the 
stature  of  that  ideal  king  of  whom  Ipuwer  dreamed. 

There  can  be  no  doubt  that  that  ideal  king  was  Re, 
the  moral  glories  of  whose  reign  were  to  be  renewed  in 
his  Pharaonic  representative  on  earth.  It  is  to  the  ap- 
proval and  to  the  traditional  character  of  the  reign  of  the 
Sun-god  that  the  king  appealed  as  the  final  basis  for  his 
instruction  to  the  vizier.  It  is  Re  who  is  dominant  in 
the  thinking  of  these  social  philosophers  of  the  Feudal 
Age.  In  the  Song  of  the  Harper  even  the  mummy  of  the 
dead  is  set  up  before  Re.  It  is  to  Re  that  the  Misan- 
thrope looks  for  justification  in  the  hereafter,  and  Khe- 
kheperre-sonbu  was  a  priest  of  the  Sun-city  of  Heliopolis. 
Ipuwer's  vision  of  the  future  ideal  king  emerges  from 
reminiscence  of  the  blessedness  of  Re's  earthly  reign 
among  men;  while  the  summary  of  the  whole  appeal  of 
the  Eloquent  Peasant  is  contained  in  "that  good  word 
which  came  out  of  the  mouth  of  Re  himself:  ' Speak 
truth,  do  truth  (or  "righteousness"),  for  it  is  great,  it  is 
mighty,  it  is  enduring.'"  The  moral  obligations  emerg- 
ing in  the  Solar  theology  thus  wrought  the  earliest  social 
regeneration  and  won  the  earliest  battle  for  social  jus- 
tice of  which  we  know  anything  in  history.  It  is  evi- 
dent here  also,  as  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  that  the  connec- 
tion of  Osiris  with  ideals  of  righteousness  and  justice  is 
secondary.  He  was  tried  and  found  innocent  in  the  great 
hall  at  Heliopolis,  that  is  before  the  Solar  bar  of  justice, 
recognized,  at  the  time  when  the  Osiris  myth  was  forming, 
as  the  tribunal  before  which  he  must  secure  acquittal, 
and  his  later  exaltation  as  judge  is  but  the  Solarization  of 
the  Osirian  functions  on  the  basis  of  the  Solar  judgeship 
so  common  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  In  the  Pyramid  Texts, 
Osiris  had  already  climbed  upon  the  celestial  throne  of 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  251 

Re;   we  shall  see  him  now  also  appropriating  Re's  judg- 
ment-seat.1 

We  discern  the  Egyptians,  then,  developing  at  a  sur- 
prisingly early  date  a  sense  of  the  moral  unworthiness  of 
man  and  a  consciousness  of  deep-seated  moral  obliga- 
tion to  which  he  has  been  largely  untrue.  Their  begin- 
nings lie  too  far  back  to  be  discernible,  but  as  they  de- 
veloped they  found  practical  expression  in  the  idealized 
kingship  whence  they  were  quickly  reflected  into  the 
character  and  the  activities  of  Re,  the  ideal  king.  The 
moral  obligation  which  men  felt  within  them  became  a 
fiat  of  the  god,  their  own  abomination  of  injustice  soon 
became  that  of  the  god,  and  their  own  moral  ideals,  thus 
becoming  likewise  those  of  the  god,  gained  a  new  manda- 
tory power.  The  idealized  kingship  of  Re,  the  possible 
recurrence  of  such  a  beneficent  rule,  brought  with  it 
golden  visions  of  a  Messianic  kingdom.  Furthermore, 
Re  became  the  great  moral  arbiter  before  whom  all  might 
receive  justice.  Even  Osiris  had  thus  been  subjected  to 
the  moral  ordeal  before  the  Sun-god  in  his  great  hall  of 
justice  at  Heliopolis,  as  the  Osirian  myth  narrates.  It  is 
not  necessary  to  deny  to  early  Osirian  belief  some  ethical 
content,  of  which  we  found  indications  likewise  in  the 
local  faiths  of  a  number  of  Egyptian  gods  of  the  Pyra- 
mid Age;  but  here  again  it  should  not  be  forgotten  that 
the  Pyramid  Texts  have  preserved  traces  of  a  view  of 
Osiris  which,  far  from  making  him  the  ideal  king  and 
the  friend  of  man,  discloses  him  as  an  enemy  of  the  dead 
and  hostile  to  men.2    It  is  not  until  the  Feudal  Age  that 

1  The  Heliopolitan  trial  of  Osiris  is  in  itself  enough  to  dispose  of 
the  extraordinary  contention  of  Budge  (in  his  two  volumes  on  Osiris) 
that  the  Sun-god  is  a  secondary  phenomenon  of  foreign  origin,  im- 
ported into  Egypt  after  the  supremacy  of  the  Osirian  faith  was 
established.  2  See  above,  pp.  75,  142-3. 


252     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Osiris  unmistakably  emerges  as  the  champion  of  righteous- 
ness.    Ptahhotep,  with  the  complaisant  optimism  which 

i    characterizes  his  maxims,  avers  that  righteousness  has 
\  I  not  been  '^disturbed  since  the  time  of  Osiris/'  meaning 

* v  the  time  when  Osiris  ruled  on  earth  as  a  righteous  king.1 
While  the  political  triumph  of  Re  largely  created  the  re- 
ligious atmosphere  which  environed  these  social  philoso- 
phers of  the  court,  we  shall  now  observe  Osiris  and  Re, 
side  by  side,  in  the  moral  thinking  of  the  age. 

It  was  now  not  only  religious  belief  and  social  axiom, 
but  also  formally  announced  royal  policy,  that  before  the 
bar  of  justice  the  great  and  the  powerful  must  expect  the 
same  treatment  and  the  same  verdict  accorded  to  the 
poor  and  the  friendless.  It  is  not  the  province  of  these 
lectures  to  discover  to  what  extent  practical  administra- 
tion made  these  ideals  effective.  That  is  a  matter  of 
history  for  the  investigation  of  which  the  materials  are 
unhappily  very  scanty.  Later  conditions  would  indicate 
that  the  ideal  remained  largely  unrealized.  It  can  hardly 
be  doubted,  however,  that  such  doctrines  of  social  justice 
as  we  have  found  in  this  age  contributed  powerfully  to 
develop  the  conviction  that  not  the  man  of  power  and 
wealth,  but  the  man  of  justice  and  righteousness,  would 
be  acceptable  before  the  great  god's  judgment-seat.  Here 
then  ends  the  special  and  peculiar  claim  of  the  great  and 
powerful  to  consideration  and  to  felicity  in  the  hereafter, 
and  the  democratization  of  blessedness  beyond  the  grave 
begins.  The  friendless  peasant  pleading  with  the  grand 
steward  says  to  him,  "Beware!  Eternity  approaches." 
Ameni,  the  great  lord  of  Benihasan,  sets  forth  upon  his 
tomb  door,  as  we  have  seen,  the  record  of  social  justice 
in  his  treatment  of  all  as  the  best  passport  he  can  devise 
1  See  above,  p.  232,  paragraph  4  (Pap.  Prisse  6,  5). 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  253 

for  the  long  journey.  Over  and  over  again  the  men  of 
the  Feudal  Age  reiterate  in  their  tombs  their  claims  to 
righteousness  of  character.  "Sesenebnef  has  done  right- 
eousness, his  abomination  was  evil,  he  saw  it  not,"  l  says 
an  official  of  the  time  on  his  sarcophagus.  The  mortuary 
texts  which  fill  the  cedar  coffins  of  this  age2  show  clearly 
that  the  consciousness  of  moral  responsibility  in  the  here- 
after has  greatly  deepened  since  the  Pyramid  Age.  The 
balances  of  justice  to  which  the  peasant  appealed  so  often 
and  so  dramatically  are  now  really  finding  place  in  the 
drama  of  justification  hereafter.  "The  doors  of  the  sky 
are  opened  to  thy  beauty,"  says  one  to  the  deceased; 
"thou  ascendest,  thou  seest  Hathor.  Thy  evil  is  expelled, 
thy  iniquity  is  wiped  away,  by  those  who  weigh  with  the 
balances  on  the  day  of  reckoning."  3  Just  as  the  peasant 
so  often  called  the  grand  steward  the  balances  of  justice, 
so  the  deceased  may  be  possessed  of  character  as  true  and 
unswerving  as  the  scales  themselves.     Hence  we  find  the 

Coffin  Texts  saying,  "Lo,  this (name  of  the  deceased) 

is  the  balances  of  Re,  wherewith  he  weighs  truth"  (or 
righteousness).4  It  is  evident  also  whose  are  the  balances 
of  truth  and  who  the  judge  who  presides  over  them.  It  is 
as  before  the  Sun-god,  before  whom  even  Osiris  had  been 
tried.  A  similar  connection  of  the  judgment  with  Re 
places  it  in  the  cabin  of  the  Solar  barque.5 

The  moral  requirement  of  the  great  judge  has  become 
a  matter  of  course.  The  dead  says:  " I  have  led  the  way 
before  him  and  behind  him.  He  loves  righteousness  and 
hates  evil,  upon  his  favorite  ways  of  righteousness  whereon 

1  Gautier  et  Jequier,  Licht,  pi.  xxv,  horizontal  line  at  top.  Other 
references  are  BAR,  I,  459,  509,  531,  532,  613,  745. 

2  These  are  forerunners  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead.  An  account  of 
them  will  be  found  below,  pp.  272-3 

3  Rec.  32,  78.  4  Rec.  30,  189.  5  Rec.  31,  23. 


254    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  gods  lead."  l  When  the  dead  man  entered  those 
righteous  paths  of  the  gods,  it  was  with  a  sense  of  moral 
unworthiness  left  behind.  "My  sin  is  expelled,"  he  said, 
"  my  iniquity  is  removed.  I  have  cleansed  myself  in  those 
two  great  pools  which  are  in  Heracleopolis."  2  Those  cere- 
monial washings  which  were  so  common  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts  have  now  become  distinctly  moral  in  their  signifi- 
cance. "  I  go  upon  the  way  where  I  wash  my  head  in  the 
Lake  of  Righteousness,"  says  the  dead  man.3  Again  and 
very  often  the  deceased  claims  that  his  life  has  been  blame- 
less :  "lam  one  who  loved  righteousness,  my  abomination 
was  evil."  4  "I  sit  down  justified,  I  rise  up  justified."  5 
"I  have  established  righteousness,  I  have  expelled  evil."  6 
"I  am  a  lord  of  offering,  my  abomination  is  evil."  7 

A  number  of  times  the  Osirian  Horus  appears  as  the 
moral  champion  of  the  dead,  to  whom  he  says :  "lam  thy 
son  Horus,  I  have  caused  that  thou  be  justified  in  the  coun- 
cil." 8  This  of  course  means  the  identification  of  the  dead 
with  Osiris,  and  the  enjoyment  of  the  same  justification 
which  had  been  granted  Osiris.  Hence  Horus  says  to  the 
dead:  "0  Osiris  X!  I  have  given  to  thee  justification 
against  thy  enemies  on  this  good  day."  9  This  justifica- 
tion was  of  course  not  that  granted  by  Osiris,  but  by  the 
Sun-god,  as  shown  by  such  utterances  of  Horus  as  this: 
"I  put  righteousness  before  him  (the  deceased)  like 
Atum"  (the  Sun-god).10  Now,  the  justification  before  the 
Sun-god  was  accomplished  by  Thoth,  as  advocate  of  the 

1  Rec.  31,  22;  see  similar  important  references  to  " righteousness " 
on  p.  21,  but  they  are  obscure. 

2  Lepsius,  Aelteste  Texte,  pi.  i,  11.  9-10  (Book  of  the  Dead,  17th 
chap.).  3  Ibid.,  pi.  i,  1.  12  =  pi.  xvi,  11.  10-11  (Book  of  the 
Dead,  17th  chap.).  4  Annates  du  Service,  V,  237. 

6  Rec.  31,  28,  1.  62.  6  Rec.  31,  25.  7  Rec.  30,  69. 

8  Rec.  33,  34.  9  Rec.  33,  36.  10  Rec.  33,  36. 


SOCIAL  FORCES  AND  RELIGION  255 

accused,  Thoth  having  been,  according  to  the  Solar  myth, 
the  vizier  of  the  Sun-god.  Hence  we  find  in  the  Coffin 
Texts  a  "Chapter  of  Justification  before  Thoth,  Heredi- 
tary Prince  of  the  Gods,"  although  the  text  of  the  chapter 
unfortunately  consists  of  mortuary  ceremonies  on  behalf 
of  Osiris,  and  makes  but  one  reference  to  justification  in 
mentioning  "the  beautiful  paths  of  justification."  l  In 
the  justification  of  Osiris  himself,  Thoth  had  figured  as  his 
defender,  and  the  justification  in  the  foregoing  chapter  is 
probably  Osirian,  though  it  does  not  unequivocally  make 
Osiris  the  judge.  The  ethical  significance  of  Osiris  is  evi- 
dent in  a  passage  where  the  deceased,  identified  with  Osiris, 
says:  "I  perish  not,  I  enter  as  truth,  I  •support1  truth,  I 
am  lord  of  truth,  I  go  forth  as  truth,  ...  I  enter  in  as 
truth";2  or  again  where  Osiris  says:  "I  am  Osiris,  the 
god  who  does  righteousness,  I  live  in  it."  3 

But  Osiris  early  discloses  himself  as  the  judge.  We 
hear  in  the  Coffin  Texts  of  "the  Great  Council  (or  court 
of  justice)  of  Osiris"  as  early  as  the  Ninth  or  Tenth 
Dynasty  (twenty-fourth  to  twenty-second  centuries)  .4  In 
the  same  text  the  dead  (or  possibly  Horus)  says:  "I  have 
commanded  those  who  are  in  the  Great  Council  in  the 
cavern  of  Osiris;  I  have  repeated  it  in  the  presence  of 
Mat  (Goddess  of  Truth),  to  cause  that  I  prevail  over  that 
foe."  5  It  is  perhaps  this  council  that  is  meant  when  the 
dead  is  assured,  "Thou  art  justified  on  the  day  when 
judgment  is  rendered  in  the  council  of  the  Lord  of  Gem- 
wet,"  although  I  am  not  certain  that  Osiris  was  the  Lord  of 
Gemwet.6  According  to  another  notion  there  were  seven 
of  these  "councils"  or  courts  of  Osiris,  and  we  find  a 

1  Lacau's,  chap.  XXIX,  Rec.  30,  69  ff.  2  Rec.  31,  16. 

3  Annates,  V,  248.  4  Assiut  Coffin  of  Mesehet,  Rec.  31,  173. 

*  Ibid.  6  Rec.  29,  147. 


256    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

prayer  that  the  soul  of  the  deceased  may  be  justified 
"  against  his  enemies  in  the  sky,  in  the  earth,  and  in  these 
seven  councils  of  Osiris."  l  Doubtless  the  popularity  of 
Osiris  had  much  to  do  with  the  spread  of  the  conviction, 
now  universal,  that  every  soul  must  meet  this  ethical  or- 
deal in  the  hereafter.  It  now  became,  or  let  us  say  that 
at  the  advent  of  the  Middle  Kingdom  it  had  become,  the 
custom  to  append  to  the  name  of  every  deceased  person 
the  epithet  ujustified.,, 

,:*  In  the  Pyramid  Texts  this  epithet  had  been  received 
only  by  the  Pharaoh,  for  royal  Osirianism  identified  the 
king  with  the  justified  Osiris  and  prefixed  "Osiris"  to 
the  king's  name.  A  new  element  now  entered  the  old 
'popular  Osirianism,  and  the  process  which  was  democ- 
ratizing the  splendid  royal  hereafter  now  began  to  iden- 
tify every  dead  man  with  Osiris,  so  that  he  not  only  as 
of  old  entered  the  kingdom  of  Osiris  to  enjoy  the  god's 
protection  and  favor,  but  he  now  became  Osiris  and  was 
conceived  as  king.  Even  in  burials  of  simple  folk,  the 
mummy  was  fashioned  and  laid  on  the  back  like  that  of 
Osiris,  and  amulets  representing  the  royal  insignia  of  the 
Pharaoh  were  painted  on  the  inside  of  the  coffin  or  laid  be- 
side the  body.2  The  popular  power  of  the  ancient  god  is 
evident  in  the  new  custom  of  prefixing  the  name  of  Osiris 
to  that  of  the  dead  man.  He  might  be  and  was  fre- 
quently identified  with  the  Sun-god  too,  but  as  a  departed 
spirit  it  was  by  the  name  of  Osiris  that  he  was  designated. 

1  Tomb  of  Harhotep,  Mem.  de  la  Miss.  arch,  frang.,  I,  177-180. 
This  appeal  for  justification  is  probably  a  magical  formula.  It  is  re- 
peatedly addressed  to  the  personified  parts — rudder,  mast,  sail,  etc. — 
of  the  sacred  Osiris  barque  at  Abydos,  each  being  adjured  to  "jus- 
tify "  the  soul  of  the  deceased.  (Cf.  forty-eight  names  of  a  barque 
in  Lacau,  XXVII,  Rcc,  30,  65  ff.t  and  Book  of  the  Dead,  xcix.)  It  is 
possible  that  "  justify  "  implies  little  of  ethical  content  here,  and  that 
it  may  be  chiefly  legal.  On  the  use  of  "justified"  as  a  juristic 
verdict,  see  Sethe,  Einsctzung  des  Vezirs,  p.  23,  n.  96. 

2  See  Scfiaefer,  Zeilschr.  fuer  aegypt.  Sprache,  43,  66  ff. 


LECTURE  VIII 

POPULARIZATION  OF  THE  OLD  ROYAL  HEREAFTER — TRI- 
UMPH OF  OSIRIS — CONSCIENCE  AND  THE  BOOK  OF  THE 
DEAD — MAGIC   AND   MORALS 

The  scepticism  toward  preparations  for  the  hereafter 
involving  a  massive  tomb  and  elaborate  mortuary  furni- 
ture, the  pessimistic  recognition  of  the  futility  of  material 
equipment  for  the  dead,  pronounced  as  we  have  seen  these 
tendencies  to  be  in  the  Feudal  Age,  were,  nevertheless,  but 
an  eddy  in  the  broad  current  of  Egyptian  life.  These 
tendencies  were  undoubtedly  the  accompaniment  of  un- 
relieved pessimism  and  hopelessness,  on  the  one  hand,  as 
well  as  of  a  growing  belief  in  the  necessity  of  moral  worthi- 
ness in  the  hereafter,  on  the  other;  they  were  revolutionary 
views  which  did  not  carry  with  them  any  large  body  of  the 
Egyptian  people.  As  the  felicity  of  the  departed  was 
democratized,  the  common  people  took  up  and  continued 
the  old  mortuary  usages,  and  the  development  and  elabora- 
tion of  such  customs  went  on  without  heeding  the  eloquent 
silence  and  desolation  that  reigned  on  the  pyramid 
plateau  and  in  the  cemeteries  of  the  fathers.  Even  Ipu- 
wer  had  said  to  the  king:  "It  is,  moreover,  good  when  the 
hands  of  men  build  pyramids,  lakes  are  dug,  and  groves 
of  sycomores  of  the  gods  are  planted."  x  In  the  opinion 
of  the  prosperous  official  class  the  loss  of  the  tomb  was 
the  direst  possible  consequence  of  unfaithfulness  to  the 
king,  and  a  wise  man  said  to  his  children: 

2  Ipuwer,  13,  12-13. 
257 


258     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"There  is  no  tomb  for  one  hostile  to  his  majesty; 
But  his  body  shall  be  thrown  to  the  waters."  l 

By  the  many,  tomb-building  was  resumed  and  carried 
on  as  of  old.  To  be  sure,  the  kings  no  longer  held  such 
absolute  control  of  the  state  that  they  could  make  it  but 
a  highly  organized  agency  for  the  construction  of  the 
gigantic  royal  tomb;  but  the  official  class  in  charge  of 
such  work  did  not  hesitate  to  compare  it  with  Gizeh  it- 
self. Meri,  an  architect  of  Sesostris  I,  displays  noticeable 
satisfaction  in  recording  that  he  was  commissioned  by  the 
king  "to  execute  for  him  an  eternal  seat,  greater  in  name 
than  Rosta  (Gizeh)  and  more  excellent  in  appointments 
than  any  place,  the  excellent  district  of  the  gods.  Its 
columns  pierced  heaven;  the  lake  which  was  dug  reached 
the  river,  the  gates,  towering  heavenward,  were  of  lime- 
stone of  Troja.  Osiris,  First  of  the  Westerners,  rejoiced 
over  all  the  monuments  of  my  lord  (the  king).  I  myself 
rejoiced  and  my  heart  was  glad  at  that  which  I  had  ex- 
ecuted." f  The  "eternal  seat"  is  the  king's  tomb,  in- 
cluding, as  the  description  shows,  also  the  chapel  or  mortu- 
ary temple  in  front. 

While  the  tombs  of  the  feudal  nobles  not  grouped  about 
the  royal  pyramid,  as  had  been  those  of  the  administrative 
nobles  of  the  Pyramid  Age,  were  now  scattered  in  the 
baronies  throughout  the  land,  they  continued  to  enjoy  to 
some  extent  the  mortuary  largesses  of  the  royal  treasury. 
The  familiar  formula,  "an  offering  which  the  king  gives," 

1  Stela  of  Sehetepibre  at  Abydos,  BAR,  I,  748.  The  Misanthrope 
refers  to  the  similar  fate  of  an  abandoned  body.     See  above,  p.  190. 

2  Stela  of  Meri  in  the  Louvre  (C  3),  BAR,  I,  509.  The  excava- 
tions of  the  Metropolitan  Museum  of  New  York  have  indeed  re- 
vealed the  unusually  sumptuous  character  of  the  surroundings  of 
this  pyramid  of  Sesostris  I  at  Lisht. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  259 

so  common  in  the  tombs  about  the  pyramids,  is  still  fre- 
quent in  the  tombs  of  the  nobles.  It  is,  however,  no  longer 
confined  to  such  tombs.  With  the  wide  popularization 
of  the  highly  developed  mortuary  faith  of  the  upper 
classes  it  had  become  conventional  custom  for  every 
man  to  pray  for  a  share  in  royal  mortuary  bounty,  and 
all  classes  of  society,  down  to  the  humblest  craftsman 
buried  in  the  Abydos  cemetery,  pray  for  "an  offering 
which  the  king  gives,"  although  it  was  out  of  the  question 
that  the  masses  of  the  population  should  enjoy  any  such 
privilege. 

It  is  not  until  this  Feudal  Age  that  we  gain  any  full 
impression  of  the  picturesque  customs  connected  with  the 
dead,  the  observance  of  which  was  now  so  deeply  rooted 
in  the  life  of  the  people.  The  tombs  still  surviving  in  the 
baronies  of  Upper  Egypt  have  preserved  some  memorials 
of  the  daily  and  customary,  as  well  as  of  the  ceremonial 
and  festival,  usages  with  which  the  people  thought  to 
brighten  and  render  more  attractive  the  life  of  those  who 
had  passed  on.  We  find  the  same  precautions  taken  by 
the  nobles  which  we  observed  in  the  Pyramid  Age. 

The  rich  noble  Hepzefi  of  Siut,  who  flourished  in  the 
twentieth  century  before  Christ,  had  before  death 
erected  a  statue  of  himself  in  both  the  leading  temples  of 
his  city,  that  is,  one  in  the  temple  of  Upwawet,  an  ancient 
Wolf-god  of  the  place,  from  which  it  later  received  its 
name,  Lycopolis,  at  the  hands  of  the  Greeks,  and  the  other 
in  the  temple  of  Anubis,  a  well-known  Dog-  or  Jackal- 
god,  once  one  of  the  mortuary  rivals  of  Osiris.  The  temple 
of  Upwawet  was  in  the  midst  of  the  town,  while  that  of 
Anubis  was  farther  out  on  the  outskirts  of  the  necropolis, 
at  the  foot  of  the  cliff,  some  distance  up  the  face  of  which 
Hepzefi  had  excavated  his  imposing  cliff  tomb.     In  this 


260    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

tomb  likewise  he  had  placed  a  third  statue  of  himself, 
under  charge  of  his  mortuary  priest.  He  had  but  one 
priest  for  the  care  of  his  tomb  and  the  ceremonies  which 
he  wished  to  have  celebrated  on  his  behalf;  but  he  had 
secured  assistance  for  this  man  by  calling  in  the  occasional 
services  of  the  priesthoods  of  both  temples,  and  certain 
of  the  necropolis  officials,  with  all  of  whom  he  had  made 
contracts,  as  well  as  with  his  mortuary  priest,  stipulating 
exactly  what  they  were  to  do,  and  what  they  were  to  re- 
ceive from  the  noble's  revenues  in  payment  for  their  ser- 
vices or  their  oblations,  regularly  and  periodically,  after 
the  noble's  death. 

These  contracts,  ten  in  number,  were  placed  by  the 
noble  in  bold  inscriptions  on  the  inner  wall  of  his  tomb- 
chapel,  and  they  furnish  to-day  a  very  suggestive  picture 
of  the  calendar  of  feasts  celebrated  in  this  provincial  city 
of  which  Hepzefi  was  lord — feasts  in  all  of  which  living 
and  dead  alike  participated.  The  bald  data  from  these 
contracts  will  be  found  in  a  table  below  (pp.  268-9),  and 
on  the  basis  of  these  the  following  imaginative  reconstruc- 
tion endeavors  to  correlate  them  with  the  life  which  they 
suggest.  The  most  important  celebrations  were  those 
which  took  place  in  connection  with  the  new  year,  be- 
fore its  advent,  as  well  as  at  and  after  its  arrival.  They 
began  five  days  before  the  end  of  the  old  year,  on  the 
first  of  the  five  intercalary  days  with  which  the  year 
ended.  On  this  day  we  might  have  seen  the  priests  of 
Upwawet  in  procession  winding  through  the  streets  and 
bazaars  of  Siut,  and  issuing  at  last  back  of  the  town  as 
they  conducted  their  god  to  the  temple  of  Anubis  at  the 
foot  of  the  cemetery  cliff.  Here  a  bull  was  slaughtered 
for  the  visiting  deity.  Each  of  the  priests  carried  in  his 
hand  a  large  conical  white  loaf  of  bread,  and  as  they 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  261 

entered  the  court  of  the  Anubis  temple,  each  deposited 
his  loaf  at  the  base  of  Hepzefi's  statue.1 

Five  days  later,  as  the  day  declined,  the  overseer  of 
the  necropolis,  followed  by  the  nine  men  of  his  staff, 
climbed  down  from  the  cliffs,  past  many  an  open  tomb- 
door  which  it  was  the  duty  of  these  men  to  guard,  and 
entered  the  shades  of  the  town  below,  now  quite  dark 
as  it  lay  in  the  shadow  of  the  lofty  cliffs  that  overhung 
it.  It  is  New  Year's  Eve,  and  in  the  twilight  here  and 
there  the  lights  of  the  festival  illumination  begin  to  ap- 
pear in  doors  and  windows.  As  the  men  push  on  through 
the  narrow  streets  in  the  outskirts  of  the  town,  they  are 
suddenly  confronted  by  the  high  enclosure  wall  of  the 
temple  of  Anubis.  Entering  at  the  tall  gate  they  in- 
quire for  the  "great  priest,"  who  presently  delivers  to 
them  a  bale  of  torches.  With  these  they  return,  slowly 
rising  above  the  town  as  they  climb  the  cliff  again.  As 
they  look  out  over  the  dark  roofs  shrouded  in  deep  shad- 
ows, they  discover  two  isolated  clusters  of  lights,  one  just 
below  them,  the  other  far  out  in  the  town,  like  two  twink- 
ling islands  of  radiance  in  a  sea  of  blackness  which  stretches 
away  at  their  feet.  They  are  the  courts  of  the  two  tem- 
ples, where  the  illumination  is  now  in  full  progress.  Hep- 
zefi,  their  ancient  lord,  sleeping  high  above  them  in  his 
cliff  tomb,  is,  nevertheless,  present  yonder  in  the  midst  of 
the  joy  and  festivity  which  fill  the  temple  courts.  Through 
the  eyes  of  his  statue  rising  above  the  multitude  which 
now  throngs  those  courts,  he  rejoices  in  the  beauty  of  the 
bright  colonnades,  he  revels,  like  his  friends  below,  in  the 
sense  of  prodigal  plenty  spread  out  before  him,  as  he  be- 
holds the  offering  loaves  arrayed  at  his  feet,  where  we  saw 
the  priests  depositing  them;  and  his  ears  are  filled  with  the 
1  Contract  1. 


262     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

roar  of  a  thousand  voices  as  the  rejoicings  of  the  assem- 
bled city,  gathered  in  their  temples  to  watch  the  old  year 
die  and  to  hail  the  new  year,  swell  like  the  sound  of  the 
sea  far  over  the  dark  roofs,  till  its  dying  tide  reaches  the 
ears  of  our  group  of  cemetery  guards  high  up  in  the 
darkness  of  the  cliffs  as  they  stand  silently  looking  out 
over  the  town. 

Just  above  is  the  great  facade  of  the  tomb  where  their 
departed  lord,  Hepzefi,  lies.  The  older  men  of  the  party 
remember  him  well,  and  recall  the  generosity  which  they 
often  enjoyed  at  his  hands;  but  their  juniors,  to  whom  he 
is  but  an  empty  name,  respond  but  slowly  and  reluctantly 
to  the  admonitions  of  the  gray-beards  to  hasten  with  the 
illumination  of  the  tomb,  as  they  hear  the  voice  of  Hep- 
zefi's  priest  calling  upon  them  from  above  to  delay  no 
longer.  The  sparks  flash  from  the  "friction  lighter"  for 
an  instant  and  then  the  first  torch  blazes  up,  from  which 
the  others  are  quickly  kindled.  The  procession  passes 
out  around  a  vast  promontory  of  the  cliff  and  then 
turns  in  again  to  the  tall  tomb  door,  where  Hepzefi's 
priest  stands  awaiting  them,  and  without  more  delay  they 
enter  the  great  chapel.  The  flickering  light  of  the  torches 
falls  fitfully  upon  the  wall,  where  gigantic  figures  of  the 
dead  lord  rise  so  high  from  the  floor  that  his  head  is  lost 
in  the  gloom  far  above  the  waning  light  of  the  torches. 
He  seems  to  admonish  them  to  punctilious  fulfilment  of 
their  duties  toward  him,  as  prescribed  in  the  ten  con- 
tracts recorded  on  the  same  wall.  He  is  clad  in  splendid 
raiment,  and  he  leans  at  ease  upon  his  staff.  Many  a 
time  the  older  men  of  the  group  have  seen  him  standing 
so,  delivering  judgment  as  the  culprits  were  dragged 
through  the  door  of  his  busy  bureau  between  a  double 
line  of  obsequious  bailiffs;    or  again  watching  the  prog- 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  263 

ress  of  an  important  irrigation  canal  which  was  to  open 
some  new  field  to  cultivation.  Involuntarily  they  drop 
in  obeisance  before  his  imposing  figure,  like  the  scribes 
and  artisans,  craftsmen  and  peasants  who  fill  the  walls 
before  him,  in  gayly  colored  reliefs  vividly  portraying  all 
the  industries  and  pastimes  of  Hepzefi's  great  estates  and 
forming  a  miniature  world,  where  the  departed  noble,  en- 
tering his  chapel,  beholds  himself  again  moving  among 
the  scenes  and  pleasures  of  the  provincial  life  in  which 
he  was  so  great  a  figure.  To  him  the  walls  seem  suddenly 
to  have  expanded  to  include  harvest-field  and  busy  ba- 
zaar, workshop  and  ship-yard,  the  hunting-marshes  and 
the  banquet-hall,  with  all  of  which  the  sculptor  and  the 
painter  have  peopled  these  walls  till  they  are  indeed 
alive. 

The  torches  are  now  planted  around  the  offerings, 
thickly  covering  a  large  stone  offering-table,  behind 
which  sits  Hepzefi's  statue  in  a  niche  in  the  wall;  and 
then  the  little  group  slowly  withdraws,  casting  many  a 
furtive  glance  at  a  false  door  in  the  rear  wall  of  the  chapel, 
through  which  they  know  Hepzefi  may  at  any  moment 
issue  from  the  shadow  world  behind  it,  to  re-enter  this 
world  and  to  celebrate  with  his  surviving  friends  the 
festivities  of  New  Year's  Eve.1 

The  next  day,  the  first  day  of  the  new  year,  is  the  great- 
est feast-day  in  the  calendar.  There  is  joyful  exchange 
of  gifts,  and  the  people  of  the  estate  appear  with  presents 
for  the  lord  of  the  manor.  Hepzefi's  descendants  are 
much  absorbed  in  their  own  pleasure,  but  his  cautious 
contracts,  as  still  recorded  in  the  town  archives,  ensure 
him  from  neglect.  While  the  peasants  and  the  lease- 
holders of  the  barony  are  crowding  the  gates  of  the  manor- 
1  Contracts  9,  5  and  7. 


264    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

house,  bringing  in  their  gifts  to  their  living  lord  and 
thinking  little,  if  at  all,  of  his  departed  predecessor,  we 
discover  the  little  knot  of  ten  necropolis  guards,  headed 
by  their  chief,  again  entering  the  outskirts  of  the  town 
and  proceeding  to  one  of  the  treasuries  of  the  estate 
where  they  are  entitled  to  draw  supplies.  Presently  they 
march  away  again,  bearing  five  hundred  and  fifty  flat 
cakes,  fifty-five  white  loaves,  and  eleven  jars  of  beer. 
Pushing  their  way  slowly  through  the  holiday  crowds 
they  retrace  their  steps  to  the  entrance  of  the  ceme- 
tery at  the  foot  of  the  cliffs,  where  they  find  a  large 
crowd  already  gathered,  every  one  among  them  similarly 
laden.  Amid  much  shouting  and  merry-making,  amid 
innumerable  picturesque  scenes  of  Oriental  folk-life,  such 
as  are  still  common  in  the  Mohammedan  cemeteries  of 
Egypt  at  the  Feast  of  Bairam,  the  good  towns-people  of 
Siut  carry  their  gifts  of  food  and  drink  up  the  cliff  to 
the  numerous  doors  which  honeycomb  its  face,  that  their 
dead  may  share  the  joyous  feast  with  them.  It  is,  in- 
deed, the  earliest  Feast  of  All-Souls.  The  necropolis 
guards  hasten  up  to  Hepzefi's  chapel  with  their  supplies, 
which  they  quickly  deliver  to  his  priest,  and  are  off  again 
to  preserve  order  among  the  merry  crowds  now  every- 
where pushing  up  the  cliff.1 

As  the  day  wears  on  there  are  busy  preparations  for 
the  evening  celebration,  for  the  illumination,  and  the 
"glorification  of  the  blessed/'  who  are  the  dead.  The 
necropolis  guards,  weary  with  a  long  day  of  arduous  duty 
in  the  crowded  cemetery,  descend  for  the  second  time 
into  the  town  to  the  temple  of  Upwawet.  Here  they 
find  the  entire  priesthood  of  the  temple  waiting  to  re- 
ceive them.  At  the  head  of  the  line  the  "great  priest" 
1  Contract  9. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  265 

delivers  to  the  ten  guards  of  the  necropolis  the  torches 
for  Hepzefi's  "illumination."  These  are  quickly  kindled 
from  those  which  the  priests  already  carry,  and  the  pro- 
cession of  guards  and  priests  together  moves  slowly  out 
of  the  temple  court  and  across  the  sacred  enclosure  "to 
the  northern  corner  of  the  temple,"  as  the  contract  with 
Hepzefi  prescribes,  chanting  the  "glorification"  of  Hep- 
zefi.1  As  they  go  the  priests  carry  each  a  large  conical 
loaf  of  white  bread,  such  as  they  had  laid  before  the 
statue  of  Hepzefi  in  the  temple  of  Anubis  five  days  be- 
fore. Arrived  at  the  "northern  corner  of  the  temple," 
the  priests  turn  back  to  their  duties  in  the  crowded  sanc- 
tuary, doubtless  handing  over  their  loaves  to  the  necrop- 
olis guards,  for,  as  stipulated,  these  loaves  were  destined 
for  the  statue  of  Hepzefi  in  his  tomb.  Threading  the 
brightly  lighted  streets  of  the  town,  the  little  procession 
of  ten  guards  pushes  its  way  with  considerable  difficulty 
through  the  throngs,  passing  at  length  the  gate  of  the 
Anubis  temple,  where  the  illumination  is  in  full  progress, 
and  the  statue  of  Hepzefi  is  not  forgotten.  As  they 
emerge  from  the  town  again,  still  much  hampered  by 
the  crowds  likewise  making  their  way  in  the  same  direc- 
tion, the  dark  face  of  the  cliff  rising  high  above  them  is 
dotted  here  and  there  with  tiny  beacons  moving  slowly 
upward.    These  are  the  torches  of  the  earlier  towns- 

1  The  nature  of  this  ceremony,  which  was  performed  by  the  living, 
at  the  New  Year's  and  other  feasts,  on  behalf  of  their  dead,  while 
not  clear  in  its  details,  must  have  been  what  its  name  technically 
defines  it  to  have  been.  It  means  "the  act  of  making  glorious," 
and,  as  we  have  seen  above,  one  of  the  epithets  applied  to  the  dead 
was  "the  glorious."  It  was  therefore  a  ceremony  for  accomplish- 
ing the  transformation  of  the  deceased  into  a  "glorious  one,"  pre- 
cisely as  he  was  transformed  also  into  a  "soul"  (ba)  by  an  analogous 
ceremony  performed  by  the  living,  a  ceremony  indeed  which  may 
have  been  much  the  same  as  that  of  glorification. 


266    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

people,  who  have  already  reached  the  cemetery  to  plant 
them  before  the  statues  and  burial-places  of  their  dead. 
The  guards  climb  to  Hepzefi's  tomb  as  they  had  done  the 
night  before  and  deliver  torches  and  white  bread  to  Hep- 
zefi's waiting  priest.  Thus  the  dead  noble  shares  in  the 
festivities  of  the  New  Year's  celebration  as  his  children 
and  former  subjects  were  doing.1 

Seventeen  days  later,  on  the  eve  of  the  Wag-feast,  the 
"great  priest  of  Anubis"  brought  forth  a  bale  of  torches, 
and,  heading  his  colleagues,  they  "illuminated"  the  statue 
of  Hepzefi  in  the  temple  court,  while  each  one  of  them 
at  the  same  time  laid  a  large  white  loaf  at  the  feet  of  the 
statue.  The  procession  then  passed  out  of  the  temple 
enclosure  and  wound  through  the  streets  chanting  the 
"glorification"  of  Hepzefi  till  they  reached  another  statue 
of  him  which  stood  at  the  foot  of  the  stairs  leading  up 
the  cliff  to  his  tomb.  Here  they  found  the  chief  of  the 
desert  patrol,  or  "overseer  of  the  highland,"  where  the 
necropolis  was,  just  returning  from  the  magazines  in 
the  town,  having  brought  a  jar  of  beer,  a  large  loaf, 
five  hundred  flat  cakes,  and  ten  white  loaves  to  be  deliv- 
ered to  Hepzefi's  priest  at  the  tomb  above.2  The  next 
day,  the  eighteenth  of  the  first  month,  the  day  of  the 
Wag-feast,  the  priests  of  Upwawet  in  the  town  each  pre- 
sented the  usual  large  white  loaf  at  Hepzefi's  statue  in 
their  temple,  followed  by  an  "illumination"  and  "glori- 
fication" as  they  marched  in  procession  around  the  tem- 
ple court.3 

Besides  these  great  feasts  which  were  thus  enjoyed  by 
the  dead  lord,  he  was  not  forgotten  on  any  of  the  periodic 
minor  feasts  which  fell  on  the  first  of  every  month  and 

1  Contracts  9,  2,  5  and  7.  2  Contracts  7,  8  and  10. 

3  Contract  4. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  267 

half-month,  or  on  any  "day  of  a  procession."  On  these 
days  he  received  a  certain  proportion  of  the  meat  and 
beer  offered  in  the  temple  of  Upwawet.1  His  daily  needs 
were  met  by  the  laymen  serving  in  successive  shifts  in 
the  temple  of  Anubis.  As  this  sanctuary  was  near  the 
cemetery,  these  men,  after  completing  their  duties  in  the 
temple,  went  out  every  day  with  a  portion  of  bread  and 
a  jar  of  beer,  which  they  deposited  before  the  statue  of 
Hepzefi  "  which  is  on  the  lower  stairs  of  his  tomb."  2 
There  was,  therefore,  not  a  day  in  the  year  when  Hepzefi 
failed  to  receive  the  food  and  drink  necessary  for  his 
maintenance.3 

Khnumhotep,  the  powerful  baron  of  Benihasan,  tells 
us  more  briefly  of  similar  precautions  which  he  took  before 
his  death.  "  I  adorned  the  houses  of  the  kas  and  the  dwell- 
ing thereof;  I  followed  my  statues  to  the  temple;  I  de- 
voted for  them  their  offerings:  the  bread,  beer,  water, 
wine,  incense,  and  joints  of  beef  credited  to  the  mortuary 
priest.  I  endowed  him  with  fields  and  peasants;  I  com- 
manded the  mortuary  offering  of  bread,  beer,  oxen,  and 
geese  at  every  feast  of  the  necropolis :  at  the  Feast  of  the 
First  of  the  Year,  of  New  Year's  Day,  of  the  Great  Year, 
of  the  Little  Year,  of  the  Last  of  the  Year,  the  Great 
Feast,  at  the  Great  Rekeh,  at  the  Little  Rekeh,  at  the 
Feast  of  the  Five  (intercalary)  Days  on  the  Year,  at 
r.  .  J  the  Twelve  Monthly  Feasts,  at  the  Twelve  Mid- 

1  Contract  6.  2  Contract  8. 

3  The  preceding  account  has  attempted  to  indicate  to  some  extent 
the  place  of  the  dead  in  the  celebration  of  the  calendar  of  feasts  as 
they  were  in  the  life  of  the  people.  Perhaps  imagination  has  been 
too  liberally  drawn  upon.  The  bare  data  as  furnished  by  the 
contracts  of  Hepzefi  will  be  found  in  the  table  on  pages  268  and 
269;  the  contracts  themselves  may  be  found  translated  in  my 
Ancient  Records,  I,  535-593. 


268     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 


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270    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

monthly  Feasts;  every  feast  of  the  happy  living  and  of 
the  dead.1  Now,  as  for  the  mortuary  priest,  or  any  per- 
son who  shall  disturb  them,  he  shall  not  survive,  his  son 
shall  not  survive  in  his  place."  2  The  apprehension  of 
the  noble  is  evident,  and  such  apprehensions  are  common 
in  documents  of  this  nature.  We  have  seen  Hepzefi 
equally  apprehensive. 

That  these  gifts  to  the  dead  noble  should  continue  in- 
definitely was,  of  course,  quite  impossible.  We  of  to-day 
have  little  piety  for  the  grave  of  a  departed  grandfather; 
few  of  us  even  know  where  our  great-grandfathers  are 
interred.  The  priests  of  Anubis  and  Upwawet  and  the 
necropolis  guards  at  Siut  will  have  continued  their  duties 
only  so  long  as  Hepzefi's  mortuary  priest  received  his  in- 
come and  was  true  to  his  obligations  in  reminding  them  of 
theirs,  and  in  seeing  to  it  that  these  obligations  were  met. 
We  find  such  an  endowment  surviving  a  change  of  dynasty 
(from  the  Fourth  to  the  Fifth),  and  lasting  at  least  some 
thirty  or  forty  years,  in  the  middle  of  the  twenty-eighth 
century  before  Chirst.3  In  the  Twelfth  Dynasty,  too, 
there  was  in  Upper  Egypt  great  respect  for  the  ancestors 
of  the  Old  Kingdom.  The  nomarchs  of  El-Bersheh,  in 
the  nineteenth  and  twentieth  centuries  before  Christ,  re- 
paired the  tombs  of  their  ancestors  of  the  Pyramid  Age, 
tombs  then  over  six  hundred  years  old,  and  therefore  in 
a  state  of  ruin.  The  pious  nomarch  used  to  record  his 
restoration  in  these  words:  "He  (the  nomarch)  made  (it) 
as  his  monument  for  his  fathers,  who  are  in  the  necropolis, 
the  lords  of  this  promontory;    restoring  what  was  found 

*Lit.  "every  feast  of  the  happy  one  in  the  (valley-)  plain,  and  of 
the  one  on  the  mountain;"  those  who  are  on  the  plain  still  live,  but 
those  on  the  mountain  are  the  dead  in  the  cliff  tombs. 

2  BAR,  I,  630.  3  BAR  i  213> 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  271 

in  ruin  and  renewing  what  was  found  decayed,  the  an- 
cestors who  were  before  not  having  done  it."  We  find 
the  nobles  of  this  province  using  this  formula  five  times 
in  the  tombs  of  their  ancestors.1  In  the  same  way,  Intef, 
a  baron  of  Hermonthis,  says:  "I  found  the  chapel  of  the 
prince  Nekhtyoker  fallen  to  ruin,  its  walls  were  old,  its 
statues  were  shattered,  there  was  no  one  who  cared  for 
them.  It  was  built  up  anew,  its  plan  was  extended,  its 
statues  were  made  anew,  its  doors  were  built  of  stone,  that 
its  place  might  excel  beyond  that  of  other  august  princes."  2 
Such  piety  toward  the  departed  fathers,  however,  was 
very  rare,  and  even  when  shown  could  not  do  more  than 
postpone  the  evil  day.  The  marvel  is  that  with  their  an- 
cestors' ruined  tombs  before  them  they  nevertheless  still 
went  on  to  build  for  themselves  sepulchres  which  were  in- 
evitably to  meet  the  same  fate.  The  tomb  of  Khnumho- 
tep,  the  greatest  of  those  left  us  by  the  Benihasan  lords 
of  four  thousand  years  ago,  bears  on  its  walls,  among  the 
beautiful  paintings  which  adorn  them,  the  scribblings  of 
a  hundred  and  twenty  generations  in  Egyptian,  Coptic, 
Greek,  Arabic,  French,  Italian,  and  English.  The  earliest 
of  these  scrawls  is  that  of  an  Egyptian  scribe  who  entered 
the  tomb-chapel  over  three  thousand  years  ago  and  wrote 
with  reed  pen  and  ink  upon  the  wall  these  words :  "  The 
scribe  Amenmose  came  to  see  the  temple  of  Khufu  and 
found  it  like  the  heavens  when  the  sun  rises  therein."  3 
The  chapel  was  some  seven  hundred  years  old  when  this 
scribe  entered  it,  and  its  owner,  although  one  of  the  great- 
est lords  of  his  time,  was  so  completely  forgotten  that  the 
visitor,  finding  the  name  of  Khufu  in  a  casual  geographical 
reference  among  the  inscriptions  on  the  wall,  mistook  the 

1  BAR,  I,  688-9.  2  Berlin,  13272;  Erman,  Rel,  pp.  143/. 

3  Newberry,  Benihasan,  I,  pi.  xxviii,  3. 


272    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

place  for  a  chapel  of  Khufu,  the  builder  of  the  Great 
Pyramid.  All  knowledge  of  the  noble  and  of  the  endow- 
ments which  were  to  support  him  in  the  hereafter  had 
disappeared  in  spite  of  the  precautions  which  we  have 
read  above.  How  vain  and  futile  now  appear  the  im- 
precations on  these  time-stained  walls! 

But  the  Egyptian  was  not  wholly  without  remedy  even 
in  the  face  of  this  dire  contingency.  He  endeavored  to 
meet  the  difficulty  by  engraving  on  the  front  of  his  tomb, 
prayers  believed  to  be  efficacious  in  supplying  all  the 
needs  of  the  dead  in  the  hereafter.  All  passers-by  were 
solemnly  adjured  to  utter  these  prayers  on  behalf  of  the 
dead. 

The  belief  in  the  effectiveness  of  the  uttered  word  on 
behalf  of  the  dead  had  developed  enormously  since  the 
Old  Kingdom.  This  is  a  development  which  accompanies 
the  popularization  of  the  mortuary  customs  of  the  upper 
classes.  In  the  Pyramid  Age,  as  we  have  seen,  such  utter- 
ances were  confined  to  the  later  pyramids.  These  con- 
cern exclusively  the  destiny  of  the  Pharaoh  in  the  here- 
after. They  were  now  largely  appropriated  by  the  middle 
and  the  official  class.  At  the  same  time  there  emerge 
similar  utterances,  identical  in  function  but  evidently 
more  suited  to  the  needs  of  common  mortals.  These 
represent,  then,  a  body  of  similar  mortuary  literature 
among  the  people  of  the  Feudal  Age,  some  fragments  of 
which  are  much  older  than  this  age.  Later  the  Book  of 
the  Dead  was  made  up  of  selections  from  this  humbler 
and  more  popular  mortuary  literature.  Copious  extracts 
from  both  the  Pyramid  Texts  and  these  forerunners  of 
the  Book  of  the  Dead,  about  half  from  each  of  the  two 
sources,  were  now  written  on  the  inner  surfaces  of  the 
heavy  cedar  coffins,  in  which  the  better  burials  of  this  age 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  273 

are  found.  The  number  of  such  mortuary  texts  is  still 
constantly  increasing  as  additional  coffins  from  this  age 
are  found.  Every  local  coffin-maker  was  furnished  by 
the  priests  of  his  town  with  copies  of  these  utterances. 
Before  the  coffins  were  put  together,  the  scribes  in  the 
maker's  employ  filled  the  inner  surfaces  with  pen-and-ink 
copies  of  such  texts  as  he  had  available.  It  was  all  done 
with  great  carelessness  and  inaccuracy,  the  effort  being 
to  fill  up  the  planks  as  fast  as  possible.  They  often 
wrote  the  same  chapter  over  twice  or  three  times  in  the 
same  coffin,  and  in  one  instance  a  chapter  is  found  no 
less  than  five  times  in  the  same  coffin.1 

1  Lacau,  XXII,  Rec.  29,  143  ff.  These  texts  as  a  class  are  some- 
times designated  as  the  Book  of  the  Dead.  As  about  half  of  them 
are  taken  from  the  Pyramid  Texts,  and  the  Pyramid  Texts  are 
sharply  distinguished  from  the  Book  of  the  Dead  (the  former  for 
the  use  of  the  king  originally,  the  latter  for  universal  use),  it  would 
seem  not  only  incorrect,  but  also  the  obliteration  of  a  useful  distinc- 
tion to  term  these  Middle  Kingdom  texts  the  Book  of  the  Dead. 
Hence  I  have  for  convenience  termed  them  Coffin  Texts,  a  designa- 
tion drawn  from  the  place  in  which  they  are  found,  and  thus  parallel 
with  the  Pyramid  Texts.  These  Coffin  Texts  have  never  been  col- 
lected and  published  as  a  whole.  A  very  valuable  collection  taken 
from  the  coffins  in  the  Cairo  Museum  has  been  made  and  published 
by  Lacau,  Textes  religieux,  Recueil  de  travaux,  vols.  26-27,  28-33. 
Lacau' s  collection  is  not  yet  all  in  print,  but  it  includes  eight-six 
chapters.  The  character  of  the  Coffin  Texts  as  containing  the  earliest 
surviving  fragments  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead  was  first  recognized  by 
Lepsius,  who  published  the  material  in  the  Berlin  collection  (Lepsius, 
Aelteste  Texte  des  Todtenbuchs,  Berlin,  1867),  and  other  texts  were 
later  published  by  Birch  (Egyptian  Texts  .  .  .  from  the  Coffin  of 
Amamu,  London,  1886).  Wilkinson's  tracing  of  an  Eleventh 
Dynasty  Coffin  Text,  now  lost,  was  published  by  Budge,  Fox- 
similes  of  Egyptian  Hieratic  Papyri  in  the  British  Museum,  London, 
1910,  pi.  xxxix-xlviii,  pp.  xxi-xxii.  A  similar  body  of  texts  from  the 
sepulchre  of  the  Middle  Kingdom  tomb  of  Harhotep  was  published 
by  Maspero,  Memoires  de  la  Mission  arch,  au  Caire,  vol.  I,  136-184. 
A  useful  statement  of  the  available  materials  will  be  found  by 
Lacau  in  his  Sarcophages  anterieures  au  Nouvel  Empire,  I  {Catalogue 


274    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

In  so  far  as  these  Coffin  Texts  are  identical  with  the 
Pyramid  Texts  we  are  already  familiar  with  their  general 
function  and  content.1  The  hereafter  to  which  these 
citizens  of  the  Feudal  Age  looked  forward  was,  therefore, 
still  largely  celestial  and  Solar  as  in  the  Pyramid  Age. 
But  even  these  early  chapters  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead 
disclose  a  surprising  predominance  of  the  celestial  here- 
after. There  is  the  same  identification  with  the  Sun-god 
which  we  found  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  There  is  a  chap- 
ter of  "Becoming  Re-Atum,"  2  and  several  of  "Becoming 
a  Falcon."  3  The  deceased,  now  no  longer  the  king,  as  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts,  says:  "I  am  the  soul  of  the  god,  self- 
generator.  ...  I  have  become  he.  I  am  he  before  whom 
the  sky  is  silent,  I  am  he  before  whom  the  earth  is  r.  .  .  ] 
...  I  have  become  the  limbs  of  the  god,  self-generator. 
He  has  made  me  into  his  heart  (understanding),  he  has 
fashioned  me  into  his  soul.  I  am  one  who  has  breathed1 
the  form  of  him  who  fashioned  me,  the  august  god,  self- 
generator,  whose  name  the  gods  know  not.  ...  He  has 
made  me  into  his  heart,  he  has  fashioned  me  into  his  soul, 
I  was  not  born  with  a  birth."  4  This  identification  of 
the  deceased  with  the  Sun-god  alternates  with  old  pictures 
of  the  Solar  destiny,  involving  only  association  with  the 
Sun-god.  There  is  a  chapter  of  "Ascending  to  the  Sky 
to  the  Place  where  Re  is,"  5  another  of  "Embarking  in 

general  .  .  .  du  Musee  du  Caire,  Cairo,  1904,  pp.  vi/.  An  ex- 
haustive comparison  and  study  of  this  entire  body  of  mortuary  texts 
is  very  much  needed,  and  the  work  of  Lacau  is  a  valuable  contribu- 
tion to  this  end. 

1  See  above,  pp.  84-141.  2  Lacau,  LII,  Rec.  31,  10. 

3  A  Solar  symbol.  Lacau,  XVI,  Rec.  27,  54  /. ;  Lacau,  XXXVIII, 
Rec.  30,  189/.;  Lacau,  XVII,  Rec.  27,  55/.  The  last  is  largely 
Osirian,  but  Re-Atum  is  prominent. 

4  Annates  du  Service,  V,  235. 
*  Lacau,  VI,  Rec.  26,  225. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  275 

the  Ship  of  Re  when  he  has  Gone  to  his  Ka; l  and  a  "  Chap- 
ter of  Entering  Into  the  West  among  the  Followers  of  Re 
Every  Day."2  When  once  there  the  dead  man  finds 
among  his  resources  a  chapter  of  "Being  the  Scribe  of 
Re."  3  He  also  has  a  chapter  of  "  Becoming  One  Revered 
by  the  King,"  4  presumably  meaning  the  Sun-god,  as  the 
chapter  is  a  magical  formulary  for  accomplishing  the 
ascent  to  the  sky.  In  the  same  way  he  may  become  an 
associate  of  the  Sun-god  by  using  a  chapter  of  "Becoming 
One  of  rthe  Great1  of  Heliopolis."  5 

The  famous  seventeenth  chapter  of  the  Book  of  the 
Dead  was  already  a  favorite  chapter  in  this  age,  and 
begins  the  texts  on  a  number  of  coffins.  It  is  largely  an 
identification  of  the  deceased  with  the  Sun-god,  although 
other  gods  also  appear.    The  dead  man  says: 

"I  am  Atum,  I  who  was  alone; 
I  am  Re  at  his  first  appearance. 
I  am  the  Great  God,  self-generator, 
Who  fashioned  his  names,  lord  of  gods, 
Whom  none  approaches  among  the  gods. 
I  was  yesterday,  I  know  to-morrow. 
The  battle-field  of  the  gods  was  made  when  I  spake. 
I  know  the  name  of  that  Great  God  who  is  therein. 
'Praise-of-Re'  is  his  name. 
I  am  that  great  Phoenix  which  is  in  Heliopolis." 

Just  as  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  however,  so  in  these  early 
Texts  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead,  the  Osirian  theology  has 

»  Lacau,  XXXII,  Rec.  30,  185/. 

2  Lacau,  XLI,  Rec.  30,  191/. 

3  Lacau,  LIII,  Rec.  31,  10/.  But  the  text  is  Osirian;  see  below, 
p.  277. 

4  Lacau,  XV,  Rec.  27,  53/. 

5  Lacau,  XL,  Rec.  30,  191.  Cf.  Book  of  the  Dead,  chaps.  LXXIX 
and  LXXXII. 


276     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

intruded  and  has  indeed  taken  possession  of  them.  Al- 
ready in  the  Feudal  Age  this  ancient  Solar  text  had  been 
supplied  with  an  explanatory  commentary,  which  adds  to 
the  line,  "I  was  yesterday,  I  know  to-morrow, "  the  words, 
"  that  is  Osiris."  The  result  of  this  Osirianization  was  the 
intrusion  of  the  Osirian  subterranean  hereafter,  even  in 
Solar  and  celestial  texts.  Thus  this  seventeenth  chapter 
was  supplied  with  a  title  reading,  "  Chapter  of  Ascending 
by  Day  from  the  Nether  World."  l  This  title  is  not 
original,  and  is  part  of  the  Osirian  editing,  which  involun- 
tarily places  the  sojourn  of  the  dead  in  the  Nether  World 
though  it  cannot  eliminate  all  the  old  Solar  texts.  The 
titles  now  commonly  appended  to  these  texts  frequently 
conclude  with  the  words,  "in  the  Nether  World."  We 
find  a  chapter  for  "The  Advancement  of  a  Man  in  the 
Nether  World,"  2  although  it  is  devoted  throughout  to 
Solar  and  celestial  conceptions.  In  the  Pyramid  Texts, 
as  we  have  seen,  the  intrusion  of  Osiris  did  not  result  in 
altering  the  essentially  celestial  character  of  the  hereafter 
to  which  they  are  devoted.  In  the  Coffin  Texts  we  have 
not  only  the  commingling  of  Solar  and  Osirian  beliefs 
which  now  more  completely  coalesce  than  before,  but  the 

1  The  word  which  I  have  rendered  "Ascending"  is  commonly  ren- 
dered "going  forth."  A  study  of  the  use  of  the  word  (pr't)  in  mor- 
tuary texts  shows  clearly  that  it  means  to  ascend.  The  following 
are  some  decisive  examples  of  its  use  in  the  Pyramid  Texts:  of  the 
rising  of  the  sun  (§§  743  b,  800  a,  812  c,  919  a,  923  c,  971  e);  of  the 
rising  of  a  star  (§§  871  b,  877  c)  (compare  the  "Rising  of  Sothis"); 
of  the  ascent  of  a  bird  to  the  sky  (§  913  a);  with  the  words  "to  the 
sky"  added,  not  infrequently  (e.  g.,  §  922  a);  on  a  ladder  (§§  974-5); 
in  opposed  parallelism  with  "descend"  (§§821  b-c,  867  a,  922  a, 
927  b).  There  is  indeed  in  the  Coffin  Texts  a  "Chapter  of  Ascend- 
ing (pr't)  to  the  Sky  to  the  Place  where  Re  is"  (Rec.  26,  225). 
These  examples  might  be  increased  ad  infinitum,  and  there  can  be 
no  question  regarding  the  rendering  "Ascending." 

2Lacau,  XIII,  flee.  26,  232  #. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  277 

result  is  that  Re  is  intruded  into  the  subterranean  here- 
after. The  course  of  events  may  be  stated  in  somewhat 
exaggerated  form  if  we  say  that  in  the  Pyramid  Texts 
Osiris  was  lifted  skyward,  while  in  the  Coffin  Texts  and 
the  Book  of  the  Dead,  Re  is  dragged  earthward. 

The  resulting  confusion  is  even  worse  than  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts.  We  shall  shortly  find  Re  appearing 
with  subterranean  functions  on  behalf  of  the  dead,  func- 
tions entirely  unknown  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  The  old 
Solar  idea  that  the  dead  might  become  the  scribe  of  Re, 
we  have  already  found  in  the  Coffin  Texts;  but  while  the 
title  is  given  as  "  Being  the  Scribe  of  Re/'  the  text  begins, 
"I  am  Kerkeru,  scribe  of  Osiris."  l  We  can  hardly  con- 
ceive a  mass  of  mortuary  doctrine  containing  a  "  Chapter  of 
Reaching  Orion,"  2  a  fragment  of  ancient  celestial  belief, 
side  by  side  with  such  chapters  as  "Burial  in  the  West,"  3 
"That  the  Beautiful  West  Rejoice  at  the  Approach  of  a 
Man,"4  "Chapter  of  Becoming  the  Nile,"5  which  is,  of 
course,  a  purely  Osirian  title  although  the  text  of  the 
chapter  is  Solar;  or  a  chapter  of  "Becoming  the  Harvest- 
god  (Neper),"  in  which  the  deceased  is  identified  with 
Osiris  and  with  barley,  as  well  as  with  Neper,  god  of 
harvest  and  grain.6 

The  Coffin  Texts  already  display  the  tendency,  carried 
so  much  further  by  the  Book  of  the  Dead,  of  enabling  the 
deceased  to  transform  himself  at  will  into  various  beings. 
It  was  this  notion  which  led  Herodotus  to  conclude  that 
the  Egyptians  believed  in  what  we  now  call  transmigration 
of  souls,  but  this  is  a  mistaken  impression  on  his  part. 
Besides  identification  with  Re,  Osiris,  and  other  gods, 

1  Lacau,  LIII,  Rec.  31,  10/.  2  Lacau,  XI,  Rec.  26,  229. 

8  Lacau,  LXII,  Rec.  31,  19.  4  Lacau,  XLIII,  Rec.  30,  192/. 

*  Lacau,  XIX,  Rec.  27,  217  ff.      6  Lacau,  LVIII,  Rec.  31,  15/. 


278    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

which,  of  course,  involved  belief  in  a  transformation, 
the  Coffin  Texts  also  enable  the  deceased  to  "become 
the  blazing  Eye  of  Horus."  l  By  the  aid  of  another 
chapter  he  can  accomplish  the  "transformation  into  an 
ekhet-bird" 2  or  "into  the  servant  at  the  table  of 
Hathor."  3 

It  is  difficult  to  gain  any  coherent  conception  of  the 
hereafter  which  the  men  of  this  age  thus  hoped  to  attain. 
There  are  the  composite  Solar-Osirian  pictures  which  we 
have  already  found  in  the  Pyramid  Texts,  and  in  which 
the  priests  to  whom  we  owe  these  Coffin  Text  compila- 
tions allow  their  fancy  to  roam  at  will.  The  deceased 
citizen,  now  sharing  the  destiny  of  Osiris  and  called  such 
by  Horus,  hears  himself  receiving  words  of  homage  and 
promises  of  felicity  addressed  to  him  by  his  divine  son: 

"I  come,  I  am  Horus  who  opens  thy  mouth,  together 
with  Ptah  who  glorifies  thee,  together  with  Thoth  who 
gives  to  thee  thy  heart  (understanding);  .  .  .  that  thou 
mayest  remember  what  thou  hadst  forgotten.  I  cause 
that  thou  eat  bread  at  the  desire  of  thy  body.  I  cause 
that  thou  remember  what  thou  hast  forgotten.  I  cause 
that  thou  eat  bread  .  .  .  more  than  thou  didst  on  earth. 
I  give  to  thee  thy  two  feet  that  thou  mayest  make  the 
going  and  coming  of  thy  two  soles  (or  sandals).  I  cause 
that  thou  shouldst  carry  out  commissions  with  the  south 
wind  and  shouldst  run  with  the  north  wind.  ...  I  cause 
that  thou  shouldst  ferry  over  fPeterui1  and  ferry  over 
the  lake  of  thy  wandering  and  the  sea  of  (thy)  sandal 
as  thou  didst  on  earth.  Thou  rulest  the  streams  and 
the  Phoenix.  .  .  .  Thou  leviest  on  the  royal  domains. 
Thou  repulsest  the  violent  who  comes  in  the  night,  the 

1  Lacau,  LXXX,  Rec.  31,  166.         2  Lacau,  XXX,  Rec.  30,  71. 
3  Lacau,  XXXI,  Rec.  30,  72  /. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  279 

robber  of  early  morning.1  .  .  .  Thou  goest  around  the 
countries  with  Re;  he  lets  thee  see  the  pleasant  places, 
thou  findest  the  valleys  filled  with  water  for  washing 
thee  and  for  cooling  thee,  thou  pluckest  marsh-flowers 
and  heni-blossoms,  lilies  and  lotus-flowers.  The  bird- 
pools  come  to  thee  by  thousands,  lying  in  thy  path;  when 
thou  hast  hurled  thy  boomerang  against  them,  it  is  a 
thousand  that  fall  at  the  sound  of  the  wind  thereof. 
They  are  ro-geese,  green-fronts,  quails,  and  kunuset.2  I 
cause  that  there  be  brought  to  thee  the  young  gazelles, 
•bullocks1  of  white  bulls;  I  cause  that  there  be  brought 
to  thee  males  of  goats  and  grain-fed  males  of  sheep. 
There  is  fastened  for  thee  a  ladder  to  the  sky.  Nut 
gives  to  thee  her  two  arms.  Thou  sailest  in  the  Lily- 
lake.  Thou  bearest  the  wind  in  an  eight-ship.  These 
two  fathers  (Re  and  Atum)  of  the  Imperishable  Stars 
and  of  the  Unweariable  Stars  sail  thee.  They  command 
thee,  they  tow  thee  through  the  district  with  their  im- 
perishable ropes."  3 

In  another  Solar-Osirian  chapter,  after  the  deceased  is 
crowned,  purified,  and  glorified,  he  enters  upon  the  Solar 
voyage  as  in  the  Pyramid  Texts.  It  is  then  said  of  him: 
"Brought  to  thee  are  blocks  of  silver  and  ^masses1  of 
malachite.  Hathor,  mistress  of  Byblos,  she  makes  the 
rudders  of  thy  ship.  ...  It  is  said  to  thee,  'Come  into 
the  broad-hall/ by  the  Great  who  are  in  the  temple.  Bared 
to  thee  are  the  Four  Pillars  of  the  Sky,  thou  seest  the 
secrets  that  are  therein,  thou  stretchest  out  thy  two  legs 
upon  the  Pillars  of  the  Sky  and  the  wind  is  sweet  to  thy 
nose."  4 

1  Thus  far  the  picture  is  Osirian;  it  now  becomes  Solar. 

2  Varieties  of  wild  fowl.  3  Lacau,  XXII,  Rec.  29,  U3ff. 
4  Lacau,  XX,  Rec.  27,  221-6. 


280     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

While  the  destiny,  everywhere  so  evidently  royal  in  the 
Pyramid  Texts,  has  thus  become  the  portion  of  any  one, 
the  simpler  life  of  the  humbler  citizen  which  he  longed 
to  see  continued  in  the  hereafter  is  quite  discernible,  also 
in  these  Coffin  Texts.  As  he  lay  in  his  coffin  he  could 
read  a  chapter  which  concerned  "Building  a  house  for  a 
man  in  the  Nether  World,  digging  a  pool  and  planting 
fruit-trees."  l  Once  supplied  with  a  house,  surrounded 
by  a  garden  with  its  pool  and  its  shade-trees,  the  dead 
man  must  be  assured  that  he  shall  be  able  to  occupy  it, 
and  hence  a  "  chapter  of  a  man's  being  in  his  house."  2 
The  lonely  sojourn  there  without  the  companionship  of 
family  and  friends  was  an  intolerable  thought,  and  hence 
a  further  chapter  entitled  "Sealing  of  a  Decree  concern- 
ing the  Household,  to  give  the  Household  [to  a  man]  in 
the  Nether  World."  In  the  text  the  details  of  the  decree 
are  five  times  specified  in  different  forms.  "  Geb,  heredi- 
tary prince  of  the  gods,  has  decreed  that  there  be  given 
to  me  my  household,  my  children,  my  brothers,  my  father, 
my  mother,  my  slaves,  and  all  my  establishment."  Lest 
they  should  be  withheld  by  any  malign  influence  the  sec- 
ond paragraph  asserts  that  "Geb,  hereditary  prince  of 
the  gods,  has  said  to  release  for  me  my  household,  'my1 
children,  my  brothers  and  sisters,  my  father,  my  mother, 
all  my  slaves,  all  my  establishment  at  once,  rescued  from 
every  god,  from  every  goddess,  from  every  death  (or  dead 
person)."  3  To  assure  the  fulfilment  of  this  decree  there 
was  another  chapter  entitled  "Uniting  of  the  Household 
of  a  Man  with  Him  in  the  Nether  World,"  which  effected 
the  "union  of  the  household,  father,  mother,  children, 
friends,  'connections1,  wives,  concubines,  slaves,  servants, 

1  Lacau,  LXVII,  Rec.  31, 24/.      2  Lacau,  XXXIV,  Rec.  30, 186/. 
3  Lacau,  LXXII,  Rec.  31,  26-29. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  281 

everything  belonging  to  a  man,  with  him  in  the  Nether 
World."  l 

The  rehabilitation  of  a  man's  home  and  household  in 
the  hereafter  was  a  thought  involving,  more  inevitably 
even  than  formerly,  the  old-time  belief  in  the  necessity 
of  food.  It  reminds  us  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  when  we 
find  a  chapter  of  "  Causing  that  X  Raise  Himself  Upon 
his  Right  Side."  2  The  mummy  lies  upon  the  left  side,  and 
he  rises  to  the  other  side  in  order  that  he  may  partake 
of  food.  Hence,  another  "Chapter  of  Eating  Bread  in 
the  Nether  World,"  3  or  "Eating  of  Bread  on  the  Table 
of  Re,  Giving  of  Plenty  in  Heliopolis."  4  The  very  next 
chapter  shows  us  how  "the  sitter  sits  to  eat  bread  when 
Re  sits  to  eat  bread.  .  .  .  Give  to  me  bread  when  I  am 
hungry.     Give  to  me  beer  when  I  am  thirsty."  5 

A  tendency  which  later  came  fully  to  its  own  in  the 
Book  of  the  Dead  is  already  the  dominant  tendency  in 
these  Coffin  Texts.  It  regards  the  hereafter  as  a  place 
of  innumerable  dangers  and  ordeals,  most  of  them  of  a 
physical  nature,  although  they  sometimes  concern  also 
the  intellectual  equipment  of  the  deceased.  The  weapon 
to  be  employed  and  the  surest  means  of  defence  available 
to  the  deceased  was  some  magical  agency,  usually  a  charm 
to  be  pronounced  at  the  critical  moment.  This  tendency 
then  inclined  to  make  the  Coffin  Texts,  and  ultimately  the 
Book  of  the  Dead  which  grew  out  of  them,  more  and 
more  a  collection  of  charms,  which  were  regarded  as  in- 
evitably effective  in  protecting  the  dead  or  securing  for 
him  any  of  the  blessings  which  were  desired  in  the  life 
beyond  the  grave.    There  was,  therefore,  a  chapter  of 

1  Lacau,  II,  Rec.  26,  67-73.        2  Lacau,  XXXIX,  Rec.  30,  190/. 

3  Lacau,  XLV,  Rec.  30,  193/. 

4  Lacau,  III,  Rec.  26,  73  ff.         8  Lacau,  IV,  Rec.  26,  76  #. 


282    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Becoming  a  Magician,"  addressed  to  the  august  ones 
who  are  in  the  presence  of  Atum  the  Sun-god.  It  is,  of 
course,  itself  a  charm  and  concludes  with  the  words,  "I 
am  a  magician."  l  Lest  the  dead  man  should  lose  his 
magic  power,  there  was  a  ceremony  involving  the  "at- 
tachment of  a  charm  so  that  the  magical  power  of  man 
may  not  be  taken  away  from  him  in  the  Nether  World."  2 
The  simplest  of  the  dangers  against  which  these  charms 
were  supplied  doubtless  arose  in  the  childish  imagination 
of  the  common  folk.  They  are  frequently  grotesque  in 
the  extreme.  We  find  a  chapter  "preventing  that  the 
head  of  a  man  be  taken  from  him."  3  There  is  the  old 
charm  found  also  in  the  Pyramid  Texts  to  prevent  a  man 
from  being  obliged  to  eat  his  own  foulness.4  He  is  not 
safe  from  the  decay  of  death;  hence  there  are  two  chap- 
ters that  "a  man  may  not  decay  in  the  Nether  World."  5 
But  the  imagination  of  the  priests,  who  could  only  gain 
by  the  issuance  of  ever  new  chapters,  undoubtedly  contrib- 
uted much  to  heighten  the  popular  dread  of  the  dangers 
of  the  hereafter  and  spread  the  belief  in  the  usefulness 
of  such  means  for  meeting  them.  We  should  doubt- 
less recognize  the  work  of  the  priests  in  the  figure  of  a 
mysterious  scribe  named  Gebga,  who  is  hostile  to  the 
dead,  so  that  a  charm  was  specially  devised  to  enable 
the  dead  man  to  break  the  pens,  smash  the  writing  outfit, 
and  tear  up  the  rolls  of  the  malicious  Gebga.6    That  men- 

1  Lacau,  LXXVIII,  Rec.  31, 164  ff.  *  Lacau,  VII,  Rec.  26, 226. 

3  Lacau,  VIII,  Rec.  26,  226-7;  also  Annates,  V,  241. 

4  Lacau,  XXII,  Rec.  29,  150;  XXIV,  Rec.  29,  156/.  Similar  pas- 
sages will  be  found  in  the  Book  of  the  Dead,  LI,  LIII,  LXXXII, 
CII,  CXVI,  CXXIV,  CLXXXIX.  Cf.  Pyr.  §§127-8,  and  BD, 
CLXXVIII.     References  from  Lacau. 

6  Lacau,  XXV,  XXVI,  Rec.  29,  157-9. 

6  Lacau,  IX,  X,  Rec.  26,  227  ff.  He  occurs  also  in  the  tomb  of  Har- 
hotep,  Mem.  de  la  Miss,  franc,  au  Caire,  I,  166. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  283 

acing  danger  which  was  also  feared  in  the  Pyramid  Texts, 
the  assaults  of  venomous  serpents,  must  likewise  be  met 
by  the  people  of  the  Feudal  Age.  The  dead  man,  there- 
fore, finds  in  his  roll  charms  for  "  Repulsing  Apophis  from 
the  Barque  of  Re"  and  for  "Repulsing  the  Serpent  which 
•Afflicts1  the  Kas,"1  not  to  mention  also  one  for  "Re- 
pulsing Serpents  and  Repulsing  Crocodiles."  2  The  way 
of  the  departed  was  furthermore  beset  with  fire,  and  he 
would  be  lost  without  a  charm  for  "  Going  Forth  from  the 
Fire,"  3  or  of  "  Going  Forth  from  the  Fire  Behind  the 
Great  God."  4  When  he  was  actually  obliged  to  enter 
the  fire  he  might  do  so  with  safety  by  means  of  a  "  Chap- 
ter of  Entering  Into  the  Fire  and  of  Coming  Forth  from 
the  Fire  Behind  the  Sky."  5  Indeed,  the  priests  had  de- 
vised a  chart  of  the  journey  awaiting  the  dead,  guiding 
him  through  the  gate  of  fire  at  the  entrance  and  showing 
the  two  ways  by  which  he  might  proceed,  one  by  land 
and  the  other  by  water,  with  a  lake  of  fire  between  them. 
This  Book  of  the  Two  Ways,  with  its  map  of  the 
journey,  was  likewise  recorded  in  the  coffin.6  In  spite  of 
such  guidance  it  might  unluckily  happen  that  the  dead 
wander  into  the  place  of  execution  of  the  gods;  but  from 
this  he  was  saved  by  a  chapter  of  "  Not  Entering  Into  the 
Place  of  Execution  of  the  Gods;7  and  lest  he  should  sud- 
denly find  himself  condemned  to  walk  head  downward,  he 

1  Lacau,  XXXV,  XXXVI,  Rec.  30,  187-8. 

2  Lacau,  LXXIII,  Rec.  31,  29. 

3  Lacau,  XXXVII,  Rec.  30,  188/. 

4  Lacau,  XLIX,  Rec.  30, 198.  «  Lacau,  XLVIII,  Rec.  30, 197. 

6  Berlin  Coffin,  Das  Buck  von  den  zwei  Wegen  des  seligen  Toten,  by 
H.  Schack-Schackenburg,  Leipzig,  1903;  also  three  coffins  in 
Cairo,  see  Lacau,  Sarcophages  anterieures  au  Nouvel  Empire,  vol.  I, 
Nos.  28083  and  28085,  pis.  lv.,  Ivi,  lvii;  vol.  II,  No.  28089.  Cf.  also 
Grapow,  Zeitschr.  fiir  aegypt.  Sprache,  46,  77  ff. 

7  Lacau,  LXIII,  Rec.  31,  20. 


284    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

was  supplied  with  a  "  Chapter  of  Not  Walking  Head  Down- 
ward." 1  These  unhappy  dead  who  were  compelled  to 
go  head  downward  were  the  most  malicious  enemies  in 
the  hereafter.  Protection  against  them  was  vitally  neces- 
sary. It  is  said  to  the  deceased :  "  Life  comes  to  thee,  but 
death  comes  not  to  thee.  .  .  .  They  (Orion,  Sothis,  and 
the  Morning  Star)  save  thee  from  the  wrath  of  the  dead 
who  go  head  downward.  Thou  art  not  among  them. 
.  .  .  Rise  up  for  life,  thou  diest  not;  lift  thee  up  for  life, 
thou  diest  not."  2  The  malice  of  the  dead  was  a  danger 
constantly  threatening  the  newly  arrived  soul,  who  says: 
"He  causes  that  I  gain  the  power  over  my  enemies.  I 
have  expelled  them  from  their  tombs.  I  have  overthrown 
them  in  their  (tomb-)  chapels.  I  have  expelled  those  who 
were  in  their  places.  I  have  opened  their  mummies,  de- 
stroyed their  kas.  I  have  suppressed  their  souls.  .  .  . 
An  edict  of  the  Self-Generator  has  been  issued  against  my 
enemies  among  the  dead,  among  the  living,  dwelling  in 
sky  and  earth."  3  The  belief  in  the  efficacy  of  magic  as 
an  infallible  agent  in  the  hand  of  the  dead  man  was  thus 
steadily  growing,  and  we  shall  see  it  ultimately  dominat- 
ing the  whole  body  of  mortuary  belief  as  it  emerges  a  few 
centuries  later  in  the  Book  of  the  Dead.  It  cannot  be 
doubted  that  the  popularity  of  the  Osirian  faith  had  much 
to  do  with  this  increase  in  the  use  of  mortuary  magical 
agencies.  The  Osiris  myth,  now  universally  current,  made 
all  classes  familiar  with  the  same  agencies  employed  by 
Isis  in  the  raising  of  Osiris  from  the  dead,  while  the  same 
myth  in  its  various  versions  told  the  people  how  similar 
magical  power  had  been  employed  by  Anubis,  Thoth, 
and  Horus  on  behalf  of  the  dead  and  persecuted  Osiris. 

1  Lacau,  XLIV,  Rec.  30, 193.  2  Lacau,  LXXXV,  Rec.  32, 78. 

»  Lacau,  LXXXIV,  Rec.  31,  175. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  285 

Powerful  as  the  Osiris  faith  had  been  in  the  Pyramid 
Age,  its  wide  popularity  now  surpassed  anything  before 
known.  We  see  in  it  the  triumph  of  folk-religion  as  op- 
posed to  or  contrasted  with  a  state  cult  like  that  of  Re. 
The  supremacy  of  Re  was  a  political  triumph;  that  of 
Osiris,  while  unquestionably  fostered  by  an  able  priest- 
hood probably  practising  constant  propaganda,  was  a 
triumph  of  popular  faith  among  all  classes  of  society,  a 
triumph  which  not  even  the  court  and  the  nobles  were 
able  to  resist.  The  blessings  which  the  Osirian  destiny 
in  the  hereafter  offered  to  all  proved  an  attraction  of  uni- 
versal power.  If  they  had  once  been  an  exclusively 
royal  prerogative,  as  was  the  Solar  destiny  in  the  Pyramid 
Texts,  we  have  seen  that  even  the  royal  Solar  hereafter 
had  now  been  appropriated  by  all.  One  of  the  ancient 
tombs  of  the  Thinite  kings  at  Abydos,  a  tomb  now  thir- 
teen or  fourteen  hundred  years  old,  had  by  this  time 
come  to  be  regarded  as  the  tomb  of  Osiris.  It  rapidly 
became  the  Holy  Sepulchre  of  Egypt,  to  which  all  classes 
pilgrimaged.  The  greatest  of  all  blessings  was  to  be 
buried  in  the  vicinity  of  this  sacred  tomb,  and  more  than 
one  functionary  took  advantage  of  some  official  journey 
or  errand  to  erect  a  tomb  there.1  If  a  real  tomb  was 
impossible,  it  was  nevertheless  beneficial  to  build  at  least 
a  false  tomb  there  bearing  one's  name  and  the  names  of 
one's  family  and  relatives.  Failing  this,  great  numbers 
of  pilgrims  and  visiting  officials  each  erected  a  memorial 
tablet  or  stela  bearing  prayers  to  the  great  god  on  behalf 
of  the  visitor  and  his  family.  Thus  an  official  of  Amenem- 
het  II,  who  was  sent  by  the  king  on  a  journey  of  inspec- 
tion among  the  temples  of  the  South,  says  on  his  stela 
found  at  Abydos:  "I  fixed  my  name  at  the  place  where 
1  BAR,  I,  528  and  746. 


286    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

is  the  god  Osiris,  First  of  the  Westerners,  Lord  of  Eternity, 
Ruler  of  the  West,  (the  place)  to  which  all  that  is  flees, 
for  the  sake  of  the  benefit  therein,  in  the  midst  of  the  fol- 
lowers of  the  Lord  of  Life,  that  I  might  eat  his  loaf  and 
'  ascend  by  day' ;  that  my  soul  might  enjoy  the  ceremonies 
of  people  kind  in  heart  toward  my  tomb  and  in  hand 
toward  my  stela."  *  Another  under  Sesostris  I  says:  "I 
have  made  this  tomb  at  the  stairway  of  the  Great  God,  in 
order  that  I  may  be  among  his  followers,  while  the  sol- 
diers who  follow  his  majesty  give  to  my  ka  of  his  bread 
and  his  'provision1,  just  as  every  royal  messenger  does 
who  comes  inspecting  the  boundaries  of  his  majesty."  2 
The  enclosure  and  the  approach  to  the  temple  of  Osiris 
were  filled  with  these  memorials,  which  as  they  survive 
to-day  form  an  important  part  of  our  documentary 
material  for  the  history  of  this  age.  The  body  of  a  power- 
ful baron  might  even  be  brought  to  Abydos  to  undergo 
certain  ceremonies  there,  and  to  bring  back  certain  things 
to  his  tomb  at  home,  as  the  Arab  brings  back  water  from 
the  well  of  Zemzem,  or  as  Roman  ladies  brought  back 
sacred  water  from  the  sanctuary  of  Isis  at  Philse.  Khnum- 
hotep  of  Benihasan  has  depicted  on  the  walls  of  his  tomb- 
chapel  this  voyage  on  the  Nile,  showing  his  embalmed 
body  resting  on  a  funeral  barge  which  is  being  towed 
northward,  accompanied  by  priests  and  lectors.  The  in- 
scription calls  it  the  "voyage  up-stream  to  know  the 
things  of  Abydos."  A  pendent  scene  showing  a  voyage 
down-stream  is  accompanied  by  the  words,  "the  return 
bringing  the  things  of  Abydos."  3    Just  what  these  sacred 

1  BAR,  I,  613.  2  BAR,  I,  528. 

3Lepsius,  Denkmaeler,  II,  126-7;  Newberry,  Benihasan,  I,  pi. 
xxix,  also  p.  68,  where  both  scenes  are  stated  to  depict  the  voyage  to 
Abydos.  It  is  clear,  both  from  the  inscriptions  ("voyage  up-stream  " 
and  "return")  and  from  the  scenes  themselves,  that  the  voyage  to 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  287 

"things  of  Abydos"  may  have  been  we  have  no  means  of 
knowing,1  but  it  is  evident  that  on  this  visit  to  the  great 
god  at  Abydos,  it  was  expected  that  the  dead  might  per- 
sonally present  himself  and  thus  ensure  himself  the  favor 
of  the  god  in  the  hereafter. 

The  visitors  who  thus  came  to  Abydos,  before  or  after 
death,  brought  so  many  votive  offerings  that  the  modern 
excavators  of  the  Osiris  tomb  found  it  deeply  buried  under 
a  vast  accumulation  of  broken  pots  and  other  gifts  left 
there  by  the  pilgrims  of  thousands  of  years.  There  must 
eventually  have  been  multitudes  of  such  pilgrims  at  this 
Holy  Sepulchre  of  Egypt  at  all  times,  but  especially  at 
that  season  when  in  the  earliest  known  drama  the  incidents 
of  the  god's  myth  were  dramatically  re-enacted  in  what 
may  properly  be  called  a  "passion  play."  Although  this 
play  is  now  completely  lost,  the  memorial  stone  of  Ikher- 
nofret,  an  officer  of  Sesostris  III,  who  was  sent  by  the  king 
to  undertake  some  restorations  in  the  Osiris  temple  at 
Abydos,  a  stone  now  preserved  in  Berlin,  furnishes  an  out- 
line from  which  we  may  draw  at  least  the  titles  of  the  most 
important  acts.  These  show  us  that  the  drama  must 
have  continued  for  a  number  of  days,  and  that  each  of 
the  more  important  acts  probably  lasted  at  least  a  day, 
the  multitude  participating  in  much  that  was  done.  In 
the  brief  narrative  of  Ikhernofret  we  discern  eight  acts. 

Abydos  and  return  are  depicted.  The  vessel  going  up-stream  shows 
canvas  set  as  it  should  for  sailing  up-stream,  while  the  other  (the 
"return")  shows  the  mast  unstepped,  as  customary  in  coming  down- 
stream at  the  present  day.  Moreover,  both  boats  actually  face  to  and 
from  Abydos  as  they  now  stand  on  the  tomb  wall.  This  device  is  not 
unknown  elsewhere,  e.  g.,  the  ships  of  Hatshepsut,  on  the  walls  of  the 
Der  el-Bahri  temple,  face  to  and  from  Punt  (BAR,  II,  251  and  p.  105). 
1  The  word  employed  (hr't)  is  one  of  the  widest  latitude  in  mean- 
ing. Its  original  meaning  is  "that  which  belongs  to"  (a  thing  or 
person),  then  his  "being,  state,  concerns,  needs,"  and  the  like. 


288     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

The  first  discloses  the  old  mortuary  god  Upwawet  issuing 
in  procession  that  he  may  scatter  the  enemies  of  Osiris 
and  open  the  way  for  him.  In  the  second  act  Osiris  him- 
self appears  in  his  sacred  barque,  into  which  ascend  cer- 
tain of  the  pilgrims.  Among  these  is  Ikhernofret,  as  he 
proudly  tells  in  his  inscription.  There  he  aids  in  repelling 
the  foes  of  Osiris  who  beset  the  course  of  the  barque,  and 
there  is  undoubtedly  a  general  melee  of  the  multitude, 
such  as  Herodotus  saw  at  Papremis  fifteen  hundred  years 
later,  some  in  the  barque  defending  the  god,  and  others, 
proud  to  carry  away  a  broken  head  on  behalf  of  the  cele- 
bration, acting  as  his  enemies  in  the  crowd  below.  Ikher- 
nofret, like  Herodotus,  passes  over  the  death  of  the  god 
in  silence.  It  was  a  thing  too  sacred  to  be  described. 
He  only  tells  that  he  arranged  the  "Great  Procession"  of 
the  god,  a  triumphal  celebration  of  some  sort,  when  the 
god  met  his  death.  This  was  the  third  act.  In  the  fourth 
Thoth  goes  forth  and  doubtless  finds  the  body,  though 
this  is  not  stated.  The  fifth  act  is  made  up  of  the  sacred 
ceremonies  by  which  the  body  of  the  god  is  prepared  for 
entombment,  while  in  the  sixth  we  behold  the  multitude 
moving  out  in  a  vast  throng  to  the  Holy  Sepulchre  in  the 
desert  behind  Abydos  to  lay  away  the  body  of  the  dead 
god  in  his  tomb.  The  seventh  act  must  have  been  an 
imposing  spectacle.  On  the  shore  or  water  of  Nedyt, 
near  Abydos,  the  enemies  of  Osiris,  including  of  course 
Set  and  his  companions,  are  overthrown  in  a  great  battle 
by  Horus,  the  son  of  Osiris.  The  raising  of  the  god  from 
the  dead  is  not  mentioned  by  Ikhernofret,  but  in  the 
eighth  and  final  act  we  behold  Osiris,  restored  to  life, 
entering  the  Abydos  temple  in  triumphal  procession.  It 
is  thus  evident  that  the  drama  presented  the  chief  inci- 
dents in  the  myth. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  289 

As  narrated  by  Ikhernofret,  the  acts  in  which  he  par- 
ticipated were  these: 

(1)  "I  celebrated  the  'Procession  of  Upwawet'  when 
he  proceeded  to  champion  his  father  (Osiris)." 

(2)  "  I  repulsed  those  who  were  hostile  to  the  Neshmet 
barque,  and  I  overthrew  the  enemies  of  Osiris. " 

(3)  "I  celebrated  the  'Great  Procession,'  following  the 
god  in  his  footsteps." 

(4)  "  I  sailed  the  divine  barque,  while  Thoth  .  .  .  the 
voyage." 

(5)  "I  equipped  the  barque  (called)  'Shining  in  Truth/ 
of  the  Lord  of  Abydos,  with  a  chapel;  I  put  on  his  beau- 
tiful regalia  when  he  went  forth  to  the  district  of  Peker." 

(6)  "I  led  the  way  of  the  god  to  his  tomb  in  Peker." 

(7)  "I  championed  Wennofer  (Osiris)  on  'That  Day 
of  the  Great  Battle';  I  overthrew  all  the  enemies  upon 
the  shore  of  Nedyt." 

(8)  "I  caused  him  to  proceed  into  the  barque  (called) 
'The  Great';  it  bore  his  beauty;  I  gladdened  the  heart 
of  the  eastern  highlands;  I  [put]  jubilation  in  the  western 
highlands,  when  they  saw  the  beauty  of  the  Neshmet 
barque.  It  landed  at  Abydos  and  they  brought  [Osiris, 
First  of  the  Westerners,  Lord]  of  Abydos  to  his  palace."  l 

It  is  evident  that  such  popular  festivals  as  these  gained 
a  great  place  in  the  affections  of  the  people,  and  over  and 
over  again,  on  their  Abydos  tablets,  the  pilgrims  pray 
that  after  death  they  may  be  privileged  to  participate  in 
these  celebrations,  just  as  Hepzefi  arranged  to  do  so  in 
those  at  Siut.    Thus  presented  in  dramatic  form  the  in- 

1  Stela  of  Ikhernofret,  Berlin  1204,  11.  17-23.  It  was  published 
by  Lepsius,  Denkmaeler,  II,  135  b,  and  much  more  carefully  by 
Schaefer,  Die  Mysterien  des  Osiris  in  Abydos  (Sethe,  Unter- 
suchungen,  IV,  2),  Leipzig,  1904,  with  full  discussion.  Translation 
will  also  be  found  in  BAR,  I,  661-670  (some  alterations  above). 


290    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

cidents  of  the  Osiris  myth  made  a  powerful  impression 
upon  the  people.  The  "passion  play"  in  one  form  or 
another  caught  the  imagination  of  more  than  one  com- 
munity, and  just  as  Herodotus  found  it  at  Papremis,  so 
now  it  spread  from  town  to  town,  to  take  the  chief  place 
in  the  calendar  of  festivals.  Osiris  thus  gained  a  place 
in  the  life  and  the  hopes  of  the  common  people  held  by 
no  other  god.  The  royal  destiny  of  Osiris  and  his  tri- 
umph over  death,  thus  vividly  portrayed  in  dramatic 
form,  rapidly  disseminated  among  the  people  the  belief 
that  this  destiny,  once  probably  reserved  for  the  king, 
might  be  shared  by  all.  As  we  have  said  before,  it  needed 
but  the  same  magical  agencies  employed  by  Isis  to  raise 
her  dead  consort,  or  by  Horus,  Anubis,  and  Thoth,  as  they 
wrought  on  behalf  of  the  slain  Osiris,  to  bring  to  every 
man  the  blessed  destiny  of  the  departed  god.  Such  a 
development  of  popular  mortuary  belief,  as  we  have  al- 
ready seen,  inevitably  involved  also  a  constantly  growing 
confidence  in  the  efficiency  of  magic  in  the  hereafter. 

It  is  difficult  for  the  modern  mind  to  understand  how 
completely  the  belief  in  magic  penetrated  the  whole  sub- 
stance of  life,  dominating  popular  custom  and  constantly 
appearing  in  the  simplest  acts  of  the  daily  household 
routine,  as  much  a  matter  of  course  as  sleep  or  the  prepara- 
tion of  food.  It  constituted  the  very  atmosphere  in  which 
the  men  of  the  early  Oriental  world  lived.  Without  the 
saving  and  salutary  influence  of  such  magical  agencies 
constantly  invoked,  the  life  of  an  ancient  household  in 
the  East  was  unthinkable.  The  destructive  powers 
would  otherwise  have  annihilated  all.  While  it  was  es- 
pecially against  disease  that  such  means  must  be  employed, 
the  ordinary  processes  of  domestic  and  economic  life  were 
constantly    placed    under   its    protection.     The    mother 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  291 

never  hushed  her  ailing  babe  and  laid  it  to  rest  without 
invoking  unseen  powers  to  free  the  child  from  the  dark 
forms  of  evil,  malice,  and  disease  that  lurked  in  every 
shadowy  corner,  or,  slinking  in  through  the  open  door  as 
the  gloom  of  night  settled  over  the  house,  entered  the  tiny 
form  and  racked  it  with  fever.  Such  demons  might  even 
assume  friendly  guise  and  approach  under  pretext  of 
soothing  and  healing  the  little  sufferer.  We  can  still  hear 
the  mother's  voice  as  she  leans  over  her  babe  and  casts 
furtive  glances  through  the  open  door  into  the  darkness 
where  the  powers  of  evil  dwell. 

"Run  out,  thou  who  comest  in  darkness,  who  enterest 
in  'stealth1,  his  nose  behind  him,  his  face  turned  back- 
ward, who  loses  that  for  which  he  came." 

"Run  out,  thou  who  comest  in  darkness,  who  enterest 
in  '"stealth1,  her  nose  behind  her,  her  face  turned  back- 
ward, who  loses  that  for  which  she  came." 

"Comest  thou  to  kiss  this  child?  I  will  not  let  thee 
kiss  him." 

"Comest  thou  to  soothe  (him)?  I  will  not  let  thee 
sqothe  him. 

"  Comest  thou  to  harm  him?  I  will  not  let  thee  harm 
him. 

"Comest  thou  to  take  him  away?  I  will  not  let  thee 
take  him  away  from  me. 

"  I  have  made  his  protection  against  >thee  out  of  Efet- 
herb,  it  makes  pain;  out  of  onions,  which  harm  thee;  out 
of  honey  which  is  sweet  to  (living)  men  and  bitter  to  those 
who  are  yonder  (the  dead) ;  out  of  the  evil  (parts)  of  the 
Ebdu-fish;  out  of  the  jaw  of  the  meret;  out  of  the  back- 
bone of  the  perch."  l 

Berlin  Papyrus,  P  3027  (I,  9  to  II,  6).  It  belongs  to  the 
early  Empire,  or  just  before  the  Empire,  about  the  sixteenth  or 


292     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

The  apprehensive  mother  employs  not  only  the  uttered 
charm  as  an  exorcism,  but  adds  a  delectable  mixture  of 
herbs,  honey,  and  fish  to  be  swallowed  by  the  child,  and 
designed  to  drive  out  the  malignant  demons,  male  and 
female,  which  afflict  the  baby  with  disease  or  threaten  to 
carry  it  away.  A  hint  as  to  the  character  of  these  demons 
is  contained  in  the  description  of  honey  as  "  sweet  to  men 
(meaning  the  living)  and  bitter  to  those  who  are  yonder 
(the  dead)."  It  is  evident  that  the  demons  dreaded  were 
some  of  them  the  disembodied  dead.  At  this  point  the 
life  of  the  living  throughout  its  course  impinged  upon 
that  of  the  dead.  The  malicious  dead  must  be  bridled 
and  held  in  check.  Charms  and  magical  devices  which 
had  proved  efficacious  against  them  during  earthly  life 
might  prove  equally  valuable  in  the  hereafter.  This 
charm  which  prevented  the  carrying  away  of  the  child 
might  also  be  employed  to  prevent  a  man's  heart  from 
being  taken  away  in  the  Nether  World.  The  dead  man 
need  only  say:  "Hast  thou  come  to  take  away  this  my 
living  heart?  This  my  living  heart  is  not  given  to  thee;" 
whereupon  the  demon  that  would  seize  and  flee  with  it 
must  inevitably  slink  away.1 

Thus  the  magic  of  daily  life  was  more  and  more  brought 
to  bear  on  the  hereafter  and  placed  at  the  service  of  the 
dead.  As  the  Empire  rose  in  the  sixteenth  century  B.  C, 
we  find  this  folk-charm  among  the  mortuary  texts  in- 
serted in  the  tomb.  It  is  embodied  in  a  charm  now  en- 
titled "Chapter  of  Not  Permitting  a  Man's  Heart  to  be 
Taken  Away  from  Him  in  the  Nether  World,"  2  a  chapter 

seventeenth  century  B.  C.  Published  by  Erman,  Zaubersprueche 
fur  Mutter  und  Kind  (Abhandl.  der  Kgl.  Preuss.  Akad.  der  Wiss.  zu 
Berlin,  1901). 

1  Erman,  ibid.,   14-15. 

2  British  Museum  Papyrus  of  Ani,  pi.  xv,  chap.  XXIX. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  293 

which  we  found  already  in  the  Coffin  Texts  of  the  Middle 
Kingdom.  These  charms  have  now  increased  in  number, 
and  each  has  its  title  indicating  just  what  it  is  intended  to 
accomplish  for  the  deceased.  Combined  with  some  of  the 
old  hymns  of  praise  to  Re  and  Osiris,  some  of  which  might 
be  recited  at  the  funeral,1  and  usually  including  also  some 
account  of  the  judgment,  these  mortuary  texts  were  now 
written  on  a  roll  of  papyrus  and  deposited  with  the  dead 
in  the  tomb.  It  is  these  papyri  which  have  now  com- 
monly come  to  be  called  the  Book  of  the  Dead.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  there  was  in  the  Empire  no  such  book.2 
Each  roll  contained  a  random  collection  of  such  mortuary 
texts  as  the  scribal  copyist  happened  to  have  at  hand,  or 
those  which  he  found  enabled  him  best  to  sell  his  rolls; 
that  is,  such  as  enjoyed  the  greatest  popularity.  There 
were  sumptuous  and  splendid  rolls,  sixty  to  eighty  feet  long 
and  containing  from  seventy-five  to  as  many  as  a  hundred 
and  twenty-five  or  thirty  chapters.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
scribes  also  copied  small  and  modest  rolls  but  a  few  feet 
in  length,  bearing  but  a  meagre  selection  of  the  more  im- 
portant chapters.  No  two  rolls  exhibit  the  same  collection 
of  charms  and  chapters  throughout,  and  it  was  not  until 
the  Ptolemaic  period,  some  time  after  the  fourth  century 
B.  C,  that  a  more  nearly  canonical  selection  of  chapters 


1  See  Papyrus  of  Ani.,  pi.  v,  11. 2-3,  where  the  title  of  the  section  in- 
cludes the  words,  "things  said  on  the  day  of  burial." 

2  The  designation  was  first  employed  by  Lepsius,  who,  however, 
realized  that  these  rolls  were  not  fixed  and  constant  in  content.  See 
his  Todtenbuch  (p.  4),  which  was  the  earliest  publication  of  so  large 
a  roll.  The  Theban  Book  of  the  Dead  has  been  published  by 
Naville,  Das  aegyptische  Todtenbuch,  Berlin,  1886.  Many  individ- 
ual rolls  are  now  accessible  in  published  form,  notably  that  of  Ani  (see 
below,  p.  304).  No  translation  fully  representing  modern  knowl- 
edge of  the  language  exists.  The  best  are  those  of  Budge  and  of 
Le  Page-Renouf,  continued  by  Naville. 


294     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

was  gradually  introduced.  It  will  be  seen,  then,  as  we  have 
said,  that,  properly  speaking,  there  was  in  the  Empire  no 
Book  of  the  Dead,  but  only  various  groups  of  mortuary 
chapters  filling  the  mortuary  papyri  of  the  time.  The 
entire  body  of  chapters  from  which  these  rolls  were  made 
up,  were  some  two  hundred  in  number,  although  even  the 
largest  rolls  did  not  contain  them  all.  The  independence 
or  identity  of  each  chapter  is  now  evident  in  the  custom 
of  prefixing  to  every  chapter  a  title — a  custom  which  had 
begun  in  the  case  of  many  chapters  in  the  Coffin  Texts. 
Groups  of  chapters  forming  the  most  common  nucleus  of 
the  Book  of  the  Dead  were  frequently  called  "Chapters 
of  Ascending  by  Day,"  a  designation  also  in  use  in  the 
Coffin  Texts  (see  p.  276) ;  but  there  was  no  current  title 
for  a  roll  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead  as  a  whole. 

While  a  few  scanty  fragments  of  the  Pyramid  Texts 
have  survived  in  the  Book  of  the  Dead,  it  may  neverthe- 
less be  said  that  they  have  almost  disappeared.1  The 
Coffin  Texts  reappear,  however,  in  increasing  numbers 
and  contribute  largely  to  the  various  collections  which 
make  up  the  Book  of  the  Dead.  An  innovation  of  which 
only  indications  are  found  in  the  Coffin  Texts  is  the  in- 
sertion in  the  Empire  rolls  of  gorgeous  vignettes  illus- 
trating the  career  of  the  deceased  in  the  next  world. 
Great  confidence  was  placed  in  their  efficacy,  especially, 
as  we  shall  see,  in  the  scene  of  the  judgment,  which  was 
now  elaborately  illustrated.  It  may  be  said  that  these 
illustrations  in  the  Book  of  the  Dead  are  another  example 
of  the  elaboration  of  magical  devices  designed  to  ameliorate 
the  life  beyond  the  grave.  Indeed,  the  Book  of  the  Dead  it- 
self, as  a  whole,  is  but  a  far-reaching  and  complex  illustra- 
tion of  the  increasing  dependence  on  magic  in  the  hereafter. 

1  Later,  especially  in  the  Saitic  Age,  they  were  revived. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  295 

The  benefits  to  be  obtained  in  this  way  were  unlimited, 
and  it  is  evident  that  the  ingenuity  of  a  mercenary  priest- 
hood now  played  a  large  part  in  the  development  which 
followed.  To  the  luxurious  nobles  of  the  Empire,  the 
old  peasant  vision  of  the  hereafter  where  the  dead  man 
might  plough  and  sow  and  reap  in  the  happy  fields,  and 
where  the  grain  grew  to  be  seven  cubits  (about  twelve 
feet)  high,1  did  not  appear  an  attractive  prospect.  To  be 
levied  for  labor  and  to  be  obliged  to  go  forth  and  toil,  even 
in  the  fields  of  the  blessed,  no  longer  appealed  to  the  pam- 
pered grandees  of  an  age  of  wealth  and  luxury.  Already 
in  the  Middle  Kingdom  wooden  figures  of  the  servants 
of  the  dead  were  placed  in  the  tomb,  that  they  might 
labor  for  him  in  death  as  they  had  done  in  life.  This 
idea  was  now  carried  somewhat  further.  Statuettes  of 
the  dead  man  bearing  sack  and  hoe  were  fashioned,  and  a 
cunning  charm  was  devised  and  written  upon  the  breast 
of  the  figure:  "O  statuette,2  counted  for  X  (name  of  de- 
ceased), if  I  am  called,  if  I  am  counted  to  do  any  work 
that  is  done  in  the  Nether  World,  .  .  .  thou  shalt  count 
thyself  for  me  at  all  times,  to  cultivate  the  fields,  to 
water  the  shores,  to  transport  sand  of  the  east  to  the 
west,  and  say,  'Here  am  I.'"  This  charm  was  placed 
among  those  in  the  roll,  with  the  title,  "  Chapter  of  Caus- 
ing that  the  Statuette  Do  the  Work  of  a  Man  in  the 
Nether  World."  3  The  device  was  further  elaborated  by 
finally  placing  one  such  little  figure  of  the  dead  in  the 
tomb  for  each  day  in  the  year,  and  they  have  been  found 
in  the  Egyptian  cemeteries  in  such  numbers  that  museums 

1  Book  of  the  Dead,  chap.  CIX. 

2  The  word  used  is  that  commonly  rendered  "Ushebti,"  and  trans- 
lated "respondent."  It  is,  however,  of  very  obscure  origin  and  of 
uncertain  meaning. 

3  Book  of  the  Dead,  chap.  VI. 


296    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

and  private  collections  all  over  the  world,  as  has  been 
well  said,  are  "populated"  with  them. 

With  such  means  of  gain  so  easily  available,  we  cannot 
wonder  that  the  priests  and  scribes  of  this  age  took  ad- 
vantage of  the  opportunity.  The  dangers  of  the  here- 
after were  now  greatly  multiplied,  and  for  every  critical 
situation  the  priest  was  able  to  furnish  the  dead  with  an 
effective  charm  which  would  infallibly  save  him.  Be- 
sides many  charms  which  enabled  the  dead  to  reach  the 
world  of  the  hereafter,  there  were  those  which  prevented 
him  from  losing  his  mouth,  his  head,  his  heart,  others 
which  enabled  him  to  remember  his  name,  to  breathe, 
eat,  drink,  avoid  eating  his  own  foulness,  to  prevent  his 
drinking-water  from  turning  into  flame,  to  turn  darkness 
into  light,  to  ward  off  all  serpents  and  other  hostile  mon- 
sters, and  many  others.  The  desirable  transformations, 
too,  had  now  increased,  and  a  short  chapter  might  in  each 
case  enable  the  dead  man  to  assume  the  form  of  a  falcon 
of  gold,  a  divine  falcon,  a  lily,  a  Phoenix,  a  heron,  a  swal- 
low, a  serpent  called  "son  of  earth,"  a  crocodile,  a  god, 
and,  best  of  all,  there  was  a  chapter  so  potent  that  by 
its  use  a  man  might  assume  any  form  that  he  desired. 

It  is  such  productions  as  these  which  form  by  far  the 
larger  proportion  of  the  mass  of  texts  which  we  term  the 
Book  of  the  Dead.  To  call  it  the  Bible  of  the  Egyptians, 
then,  is  quite  to  mistake  the  function  and  content  of 
these  rolls.1  The  tendency  which  brought  forth  this  mass 
of  "chapters"  is  also  characteristically  evident  in  two 
other  books  each  of  which  was  in  itself  a  coherent  and 


1  The  designation  "Bible  of  the  old  Egyptians"  is  at  least  as  old 
as  the  report  of  the  Committee  of  the  Oriental  Congress,  which  sat 
in  London  in  1874  and  arranged  for  publishing  the  Book  of  the 
Dead.     See  Naville,  Todtenbuch,  Einleitung,  p.  5. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  297 

connected  composition.  The  Book  of  the  Two  Ways, 
as  old,  we  remember,  as  the  Middle  Kingdom,1  had  already 
contributed  much  to  the  Book  of  the  Dead  regarding  the 
fiery  gates  through  which  the  dead  gained  entrance  to 
the  world  beyond  and  to  the  two  ways  by  which  he  was 
to  make  his  journey.2  On  the  basis  of  such  fancies  as 
these,  the  imagination  of  the  priests  now  put  forth  a 
"Book  of  Him  Who  is  in  the  Nether  World,"  describing 
the  subterranean  journey  of  the  sun  during  the  night  as 
he  passed  through  twelve  long  cavernous  galleries  be- 
neath the  earth,  each  one  representing  a  journey  of  an 
hour,  the  twelve  caverns  leading  the  sun  at  last  to  the 
point  in  the  east  where  he  rises.3  The  other  book,  com- 
monly called  the  "Book  of  the  Gates,"  represents  each 
of  the  twelve  caverns  as  entered  by  a  gate  and  concerns 
itself  with  the  passage  of  these  gates.  While  these  com- 
positions never  gained  the  popularity  enjoyed  by  the 
Book  of  the  Dead,  they  are  magical  guide-books  devised 
for  gain,  just  as  was  much  of  the  material  which  made 
up  the  Book  of  the  Dead. 

That  which  saves  the  Book  of  the  Dead  itself  from 
being  exclusively  a  magical  vade  mecum  for  use  in  the 
hereafter  is  its  elaboration  of  the  ancient  idea  of  the 
moral  judgment,  and  its  evident  appreciation  of  the  bur- 
den of  conscience.  The  relation  with  God  had  become 
something  more  than  merely  the  faithful  observance  of 
external  rites.  It  had  become  to  some  extent  a  matter 
of  the  heart  and  of  character.  Already  in  the  Middle 
Kingdom  the  wise  man  had  discerned  the  responsibility 
of  the  inner  man,  of  the  heart  or  understanding.    The 

1  See  above,  p.  283. 

2  See  Grapow,  Zeitschr.fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  46,  77  if. 

8  See  Jequier,  Le  livre  de  ce  qu'il  y  a  dans  V Hades.     Paris,  1894. 


298     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

man  of  ripe  and  morally  sane  understanding  is  his  ideal, 
and  his  counsel  is  to  be  followed.  "A  hearkener  (to 
good  counsel)  is  one  whom  the  god  loves.  Who  hearkens 
not  is  one  whom  the  god  hates.  It  is  the  heart  (under- 
standing) which  makes  its  possessor  a  hearkener  or  one 
not  hearkening.  The  life,  prosperity,  and  health  of  a  man 
is  in  his  heart."  l  A  court  herald  of  Thutmose  III  in 
recounting  his  services  likewise  says:  "It  was  my  heart 
which  caused  that  I  should  do  them  (his  services  for  the 
king),  by  its  guidance  of  my  affairs.  It  was  ...  as  an 
excellent  witness.  I  did  not  disregard  its  speech,  I  feared 
to  transgress  its  guidance.  I  prospered  thereby  greatly, 
I  was  successful  by  reason  of  that  which  it  caused  me  to 
do,  I  was  distinguished  by  its  guidance.  'Lo,  .  .  .  / 
said  the  people,  'it  is  an  oracle  of  God  in  every  body.2 
Prosperous  is  he  whom  it  has  guided  to  the  good  way  of 
achievement/  Lo,  thus  I  was."  3  The  relatives  of  Paheri, 
a  prince  of  El  Kab,  addressing  him  after  his  death,  pray, 
"Mayest  thou  spend  eternity  in  gladness  of  heart,  in  the 
favor  of  the  god  that  is  in  thee,"  4  and  another  dead  man 
similarly  declares,  "The  heart  of  a  man  is  his  own  god, 
and  my  heart  was  satisfied  with  my  deeds."  5  To  this 
inner  voice  of  the  heart,  which  with  surprising  insight 
was  even  termed  a  man's  god,  the  Egyptian  was  now 
more  sensitive  than  ever  before  during  the  long  course  of 
the  ethical  evolution  which  we  have  been  following.    This 

1  See  above,  p.  236. 

2  Or  "belly,"  meaning  the  seat  of  the  mind. 

3  Louvre  stela,  C.  26,  11.  22-24.     Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache, 
39,  47. 

4  Egypt  Expl.  Fund,  Eleventh  Mem.,  pi.  ix,  11.  20-21.     Zeitschr. 
fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  39,  48 . 

5  Wreczinski,  Wiener  Inschriften,  160,  quoted  by  Erman,  Rel., 
p.  123. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRTS  299 

sensitiveness  finds  very  full  expression  in  the  most  im- 
portant if  not  the  longest  section  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead. 
Whereas  the  judgment  hereafter  is  mentioned  as  far  back 
as  the  Pyramid  Age,  we  now  find  a  full  account  and  de- 
scription of  it  in  the  Book  of  the  Dead.1  Notwithstand- 
ing the  prominence  of  the  intruding  Osiris  in  the  judgment 
we  shall  clearly  discern  its  Solar  origin  and  character 
even  as  recounted  in  the  Book  of  the  Dead.  Three  dif- 
ferent versions  of  the  judgment,  doubtless  originally  inde- 
pendent, have  been  combined  in  the  fullest  and  best  rolls. 
The  first  is  entitled,  "  Chapter  of  Entering  Into  the  Hall 
of  Truth  (or  Righteousness),"2  and  it  contains  "that 
which  is  said  on  reaching  the  Hall  of  Truth,  when  X  (the 
deceased's  name)  is  purged  from  all  evil  that  he  has  done, 
and  he  beholds  the  face  of  the  god.  'Hail  to  thee,  great 
god,  lord  of  Truth.3  I  have  come  to  thee,  my  lord,  and 
I  am  led  (thither)  in  order  to  see  thy  beauty.  I  know 
thy  name,  I  know  the  names  of  the  forty-two  gods  who 
are  with  thee  in  the  Hall  of  Truth,  who  live  on  evil-doers 
and  devour  their  blood,  on  that  day  of  reckoning  char- 
acter before  Wennofer  (Osiris).4  Behold,  I  come  to  thee, 
I  bring  to  thee  righteousness  and  I  expel  for  thee  sin. 
I  have  committed  no  sin  against  people.  ...  I  have  not 
done  evil  in  the  place  of  truth.  I  knew  no  wrong.  I  did 
no  evil  thing.  ...  I  did  not  do  that  which  the  god  abom- 

1  It  is  commonly  known  as  chap.  CXXV. 

2  The  word  "truth"  here  is  commonly  written  in  the  dual,  which 
grammatically  equals  "the  two  truths."  This  strange  usage  is 
perhaps  merely  an  idiom  of  intensification,  as  "morning"  is  written 
in  the  dual  for  "early  morning." 

3  In  the  dual  as  above,  and  for  the  most  part  throughout  this 
chapter. 

4  An  important  variant  has,  "Who  live  on  righteousness  (truth) 
and  abominate  sin."  Some  texts  also  insert  here  the  name  of 
Osiris,  "Lo,  the  'two  beloved  daughters,  his  two  eyes  of  Truth'  is 
thy  name." 


300     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

inates.  I  did  not  report  evil  of  a  servant  to  his  master. 
I  allowed  no  one  to  hunger.  I  caused  no  one  to  weep. 
I  did  not  murder.  I  did  not  command  to  murder.  I 
caused  no  man  misery.  I  did  not  diminish  food  in  the 
temples.  I  did  not  decrease  the  offerings  of  the  gods. 
I  did  not  take  away  the  food-offerings  of  the  dead  (liter- 
ally "glorious")-  I  did  not  commit  adultery.  I  did  not 
commit  self-pollution  in  the  pure  precinct  of  my  city- 
god.  I  did  not  diminish  the  grain  measure.  I  did  not 
diminish  the  span.1  I  did  not  diminish  the  land  measure. 
I  did  not  load  the  weight  of  the  balances.  I  did  not  de- 
flect the  index  of  the  scales.  I  did  not  take  milk  from 
the  mouth  of  the  child.  I  did  not  drive  away  the  cattle 
from  their  pasturage.  I  did  not  snare  the  fowl  of  the 
gods.  I  did  not  catch  the  fish  in  their  pools.  I  did  not 
hold  back  the  water  in  its  time.  I  did  not  dam  the  run- 
ning water.2  I  did  not  quench  the  fire  in  its  time.3  I 
did  not  withhold  the  herds  of  the  temple  endowments.  I 
did  not  interfere  with  the  god  in  his  payments.  I  am 
purified  four  times,  I  am  pure  as  that  great  Phoenix  is 
pure  which  is  in  Heracleopolis.  For  I  am  that  nose  of 
the  Lord  of  Breath  who  keeps  alive  all  the  people.' "  4 
The  address  of  the  deceased  now  merges  into  obscure 
mythological  allusions,  and  he  concludes  with  the  state- 
ment, "There  arises  no  evil  thing  against  me  in  this  land, 
in  the  Hall  of  Truth,  because  I  know  the  names  of  these 
gods  who  are  therein,  the  followers  of  the  Great  God." 
A   second   scene  of  judgment  is  now  enacted.     The 

1 A  measure  of  length. 

2  This  refers  to  diverting  the  waters  of  the  irrigation  canals  at 
time  of  inundation  at  the  expense  of  neighbors,  still  one  of  the  com- 
monest forms  of  corruption  in  Egypt. 

3  The  text  is  clear,  but  the  meaning  is  quite  obscure. 

4  Book  of  the  Dead,  chap.  CXXV;  Naville,  Todtenbuch,  I, 
CXXXIII,  and  II,  275-287. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  301 

judge  Osiris  is  assisted  by  forty-two  gods  who  sit  with 
him  in  judgment  on  the  dead.  They  are  terrifying 
demons,  each  bearing  a  grotesque  and  horrible  name, 
which  the  deceased  claims  that  he  knows.  He  therefore 
addresses  them  one  after  the  other  by  name.  They  are 
such  names  as  these :  "  Broad  -  Stride  -  that  -  Came  -  out  - 
of-Heliopolis,"  "  Flame-Hugger-that-Came-out-of-Troja," 
"  Nosey-that-Came-out-of-Hermopolis, ' '  "  Shadow-Eater- 
that-Came-out-of-the-Cave,"  "  Turn-Face-that-Came-out 
of-Rosta,"  "  Two-Eyes-of-Flame-that-Came-out-of-Letop- 
olis,',  "  Bone  -  Breaker  -  that-Came-out-of-Heracleopolis," 
"  White  -  Teeth  -  that  -  Came  -  out  -  of -the -Secret -Land," 
"  Blood  -  Eater-that-Came-out-of-the-Place-of-Execution," 
"  Eater-of-Entrails-that-Came-out-of-Mebit."  These  and 
other  equally  edifying  creations  of  priestly  imagination  the 
deceased  calls  upon,  addressing  to  each  in  turn  a  declara- 
tion of  innocence  of  some  particular  sin. 

This  section  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead  is  commonly  called 
the  "  Confession. "  It  would  be  difficult  to  devise  a  term 
more  opposed  to  the  real  character  of  the  dead  man's 
statement,  which  as  a  declaration  of  innocence  is,  of  course, 
the  reverse  of  a  confession.  The  ineptitude  of  the  desig- 
nation has  become  so  evident  that  some  editors  have 
added  the  word  negative,  and  thus  call  it  the  "negative 
confession,"  which  means  nothing  at  all.  The  Egyptian 
does  not  confess  at  this  judgment,  and  this  is  a  fact  of  the 
utmost  importance  in  his  religious  development,  as  we 
shall  see.  To  mistake  this  section  of  the  Book  of  the 
Dead  for  "confession"  is  totally  to  misunderstand  the 
development  which  was  now  slowly  carrying  him  toward 
that  complete  acknowledgment  and  humble  disclosure  of 
his  sin  which  is  nowhere  found  in  the  Book  of  the  Dead. 

It  is  evident  that  the  forty-two  gods  are  an  artificial 


302     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

creation.  As  was  long  ago  noticed,  they  represent  the 
forty  or  more  nomes,  or  administrative  districts,  of  Egypt. 
The  priests  doubtless  built  up  this  court  of  forty-two 
judges  in  order  to  control  the  character  of  the  dead  from 
all  quarters  of  the  country.  The  deceased  would  find 
himself  confronted  by  one  judge  at  least  who  was  ac- 
quainted with  his  local  reputation,  and  who  could  not  be 
deceived.  The  forty-two  declarations  addressed  to  this 
court  cover  much  the  same  ground  as  those  we  have  al- 
ready rendered  in  the  first  address.  The  editors  had  some 
difficulty  in  finding  enough  sins  to  make  up  a  list  of  forty- 
two,  and  there  are  several  verbal  repetitions,  not  to  men- 
tion essential  repetitions  with  slight  changes  in  the  word- 
ing. The  crimes  which  may  be  called  those  of  violence 
are  these:  "I  did  not  slay  men  (5),  I  did  not  rob  (2),  I  did 
not  steal  (4),  I  did  not  rob  one  crying  for  his  possessions 
(18),1  my  fortune  was  not  great  but  by  my  (own)  property 
(41),  I  did  not  take  away  food  (10),  I  did  not  stir  up  fear 
(21),  I  did  not  stir  up  strife  (25)."  Deceitfulness  and 
other  undesirable  qualities  of  character  are  also  disavowed : 
"I  did  not  speak  lies  (9),  I  did  not  make  falsehood  in  the 
place  of  truth  (40),  I  was  not  deaf  to  truthful  words  (24), 
I  did  not  diminish  the  grain-measure  (6),  I  was  not  ava- 
ricious (3),  my  heart  devoured  not  (coveted  not?)  (28),  my 
heart  was  not  hasty  (31),  I  did  not  multiply  words  in 
speaking  (33),  my  voice  was  not  over  loud  (37),  my  mouth 
did  not  wag  (lit.  go)  (17),  I  did  not  wax  hot  (in  temper) 
(23),  I  did  not  revile  (29),  I  was  not  an  eavesdropper  (16), 
I  was  not  puffed  up  (39)."  The  dead  man  is  free  from 
sexual  immorality:    "I  did  not  commit  adultery  with  a 

1  The  variants  indicate  "I  did  not  rtake  possession1  of  my  (own) 
property,"  or  "I  did  not  take  possession1  except  of  just  (or  true) 
possessions." 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  303 

woman  (19),  I  did  not  commit  self-pollution  (20,  27) ;"  and 
ceremonial  transgressions  are  also  denied :  "  I  did  not  revile 
the  king  (35),  I  did  not  blaspheme  the  god  (38),  I  did  not 
slay  the  divine  bull  (13),  I  did  not  steal  temple  endowment 
(8),  I  did  not  diminish  food  in  the  temple  (15),  I  did  not 
do  an  abomination  of  the  gods  (42)."  These,  with  several 
repetitions  and  some  that  are  unintelligible,  make  up 
the  declaration  of  innocence.1 

Having  thus  vindicated  himself  before  the  entire  great 
court,  the  deceased  confidently  addresses  them :  "  Hail  to 
you,  ye  gods!  I  know  you,  I  know  your  names.  I  fall 
not  before  your  blades.  Report  not  evil  of  me  to  this 
god  whom  ye  follow.  My  case  does  not  come  before  you. 
Speak  ye  the  truth  concerning  me  before  the  All-Lord; 
because  I  did  the  truth  (or  righteousness)  in  the  land  of 
Egypt.  I  did  not  revile  the  god.  My  case  did  not  come 
before  the  king  then  reigning.  Hail  to  you,  ye  gods  who 
are  in  the  Hall  of  Truth,  in  whose  bodies  are  neither  sin 
nor  falsehood,  who  live  on  truth  in  Heliopolis  .  .  .  before 
Horus  dwelling  in  his  sun-disk.2  Save  ye  me  from  Babi,3 
who  lives  on  the  entrails  of  the  great,  on  that  day  of  the 
great  reckoning.  Behold,  I  come  to  you  without  sin,  with- 
out evil,  without  wrong.  ...  I  live  on  righteousness,  I 
feed  on  the  righteousness  of  my  heart.  I  have  done  that 
which  men  say,  and  that  wherewith  the  gods  are  content. 
I  have  satisfied  the  god  with  that  which  he  desires.  I  gave 
bread  to  the  hungry,  water  to  the  thirsty,  clothing  to  the 
naked,  and  a  ferry  to  him  who  was  without  a  boat.  I 
made  divine  offerings  for  the  gods  and  food -offerings  for 

1  Book  of  the  Dead,  chap.  CXXV;  Naville,  Todtenbuch,  I, 
CXXXIV-V;  II,  pp.  289-309. 

2  It  should  be  noted  that  this  is  another  evidence  of  the  Solar 
origin  of  this  court. 

3  A  hostile  demon  of  the  Nether  World. 


304    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  dead.  Save  ye  me;  protect  ye  me.  Enter  no  com- 
plaint against  me  before  the  Great  God.  For  I  am  one  of 
pure  mouth  and  pure  hands,  to  whom  was  said  '  Welcome, 
welcome'  by  those  who  saw  him."  l  With  these  words 
the  claims  of  the  deceased  to  moral  worthiness  merge  into 
affirmations  that  he  has  observed  all  ceremonial  require- 
ments of  the  Osirian  faith,  and  these  form  more  than  half 
of  this  concluding  address  to  the  gods  of  the  court. 

The  third  record  of  the  judgment  was  doubtless  the 
version  which  made  the  deepest  impression  upon  the 
Egyptian.  Like  the  drama  of  Osiris  at  Abydos,  it  is 
graphic  and  depicts  the  judgment  as  effected  by  the  bal- 
ances. In  the  sumptuously  illustrated  papyrus  of  Ani 2 
we  see  Osiris  sitting  enthroned  at  one  end  of  the  judgment 
hall,  with  Isis  and  Nephthys  standing  behind  him.  Along 
one  side  of  the  hall  are  ranged  the  nine  gods  of  the  Heli- 
opolitan  Ennead,  headed  by  the  Sun-god.3  They  after- 
ward announce  the  verdict,  showing  the  originally  Solar 
origin  of  this  third  scene  of  judgment,  in  which  Osiris  has 
now  assumed  the  chief  place.  In  the  midst  stand  "the 
balances  of  Re  wherewith  he  weighs  truth,"  as  we  have 
seen  them  called  in  the  Feudal  Age; 4  but  the  judgment  in 
which  they  figure  has  now  become  Osirianized.  The  bal- 
ances are  manipulated  by  the  ancient  mortuary  god 
Anubis,  behind  whom  stands  the  divine  scribe  Thoth, 
who  presides  over  the  weighing,  pen  and  writing  palette 

iBook  of  the  Dead,  chap.  CXXV;  Naville,  Todtenbuch,  I, 
CXXXVII,  11.  2-13;  II,  pp.  310-317. 

2  British  Museum  Papyrus  10470.  See  Facsimile  of  the  Papyrus 
of  Ani,  in  the  British  Museum.  Printed  by  order  of  the  Trustees. 
London,  1894,  pis.  iii-iv. 

3  The  number  has  been  adjusted  to  the  exclusion  of  Osiris,  who 
sits  as  chief  judge.  Isis  and  Nephthys  are  placed  together  and 
counted  as  one. 

4  See  above,  p.  253. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  305 

in  hand,  that  he  may  record  the  result.  Behind  him 
crouches  a  grotesque  monster  called  the  "Devouress," 
with  the  head  of  a  crocodile,  fore  quarters  of  a  lion  and 
hind  quarters  of  a  hippopotamus,  waiting  to  devour  the 
unjust  soul.  Beside  the  balances  in  subtle  suggestive- 
ness  stands  the  figure  of  "Destiny"  accompanied  by 
Renenet  and  Meskhenet,  the  two  goddesses  of  birth, 
about  to  contemplate  the  fate  of  the  soul  at  whose  com- 
ing into  this  world  they  had  once  presided.  Behind  the 
enthroned  divinities  sit  the  gods  "Taste"  and  "Intelli- 
gence." In  other  rolls  we  not  infrequently  find  standing 
at  the  entrance  the  goddess  "Truth,  daughter  of  Re," 
who  ushers  into  the  hall  of  judgment  the  newly  arrived 
soul.  Ani  and  his  wife,  with  bowed  heads  and  depreca- 
tory gestures,  enter  the  fateful  hall,  and  Anubis  at  once 
calls  for  the  heart  of  Ani.  In  the  form  of  a  tiny  vase, 
which  is  in  Egyptian  writing  the  hieroglyph  for  heart, 
one  side  of  the  balances  bears  the  heart  of  Ani,  while  in 
the  other  side  appears  a  feather,  the  symbol  and  hieroglyph 
for  Truth  or  Righteousness.  At  the  critical  moment  Ani 
addresses  his  own  heart:  "O  my  heart  that  came  from 
my  mother!  0  my  heart  belonging  to  my  being!  Rise 
not  up  against  me  as  a  witness.  Oppose  me  not  in  the 
council  (court  of  justice).  Be  not  hostile  to  me  before 
the  master  of  the  balances.  Thou  art  my  ka  that  is  in 
my  body.  .  .  .  Let  not  my  name  be  of  evil  odor  with  the 
court,  speak  no  lie  against  me  in  the  presence  of  the  god." 
Evidently  this  appeal  has  proven  effective,  for  Thoth, 
"envoy  of  the  Great  Ennead,  that  is  in  the  presence  of 
Osiris, "  at  once  says :  "  Hear  ye  this  word  in  truth.  I  have 
judged  the  heart  of  Osiris  [Ani]  l  His  soul  stands  as  a 
witness  concerning  him,  his  character  is  just  by  the  great 
1  Omitted  by  the  scribe. 


306    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

balances.  No  sin  of  his  has  been  found."  The  Nine 
Gods  of  the  Ennead  at  once  respond :  "  rHow  good1  it  is, 
this  which  comes  forth  from  thy  just  mouth.  Osiris  Ani, 
the  justified,  witnesses.  There  is  no  sin  of  his,  there  is 
no  evil  of  his  with  us.  The  Devouress  shall  not  be  given 
power  over  him.  Let  there  be  given  to  him  the  bread 
that  cometh  forth  before  Osiris,  the  domain  that  abideth 
in  the  field  of  offerings,  like  the  Followers  of  Horus." 

Having  thus  received  a  favorable  verdict,  the  fortunate 
Ani  is  led  forward  by  "Horus,  son  of  Isis,"  who  presents 
him  to  Osiris,  at  the  same  time  saying:  "I  come  to  thee, 
Wennofer;  I  bring  to  thee  Osiris  Ani.  His  righteous  heart 
comes  forth  from  the  balances  and  he  has  no  sin  in  the 
sight  of  any  god  or  goddess.  Thoth  has  judged  him  in 
writing;  the  Nine  Gods  have  spoken  concerning  him  a 
very  just  testimony.  Let  there  be  given  to  him  the  bread 
and  beer  that  come  forth  before  Osiris- Wennofer  like  the 
Followers  of  Horus."  With  his  hand  in  that  of  Horus, 
Ani  then  addresses  Osiris:  "Lo,  I  am  before  thee,  Lord  of 
the  West.  There  is  no  sin  in  my  body.  I  have  not 
spoken  a  lie  knowingly  nor  (if  so)  was  there  a  second  time. 
Let  me  be  like  the  favorites  who  are  in  thy  following."  l 
Thereupon  he  kneels  before  the  great  god,  and  as  he  pre- 
sents a  table  of  offerings  is  received  into  his  kingdom. 

These  three  accounts  of  the  judgment,  in  spite  of  the 
grotesque  appurtenances  with  which  the  priests  of  the 
time  have  embellished  them,  are  not  without  impressive- 
ness  even  to  the  modern  beholder  as  he  contemplates  these 
rolls  of  three  thousand  five  hundred  years  ago,  and  realizes 
that  these  scenes  are  the  graphic  expression  of  the  same 
moral  consciousness,  of  the  same  admonishing  voice 
within,  to  which  we  still  feel  ourselves  amenable.     Ani 

1  Papyrus  of  Ani,  pi.  iv. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  307 

importunes  his  heart  not  to  betray  him,  and  his  cry  finds 
an  echo  down  all  the  ages  in  such  words  as  those  of 
Richard : 

"My  conscience  hath  a  thousand  several  tongues, 
And  every  tongue  brings  in  a  several  tale, 
And  every  tale  condemns  me  for  a  villain." 

The  Egyptian  heard  the  same  voice,  feared  it,  and 
endeavored  to  silence  it.  He  strove  to  still  the  voice 
of  the  heart;  he  did  not  yet  confess,  but  insistently  main- 
tained his  innocence.  The  next  step  in  his  higher  devel- 
opment was  humbly  to  disclose  the  consciousness  of  guilt 
to  his  god.  That  step  he  later  took.  But  another  force 
intervened  and  greatly  hampered  the  complete  emanci- 
pation of  his  conscience.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  this 
Osirian  judgment  thus  graphically  portrayed  and  the  uni- 
versal reverence  for  Osiris  in  the  Empire  had  much  to 
do  with  spreading  the  belief  in  moral  responsibility  be- 
yond the  grave,  and  in  giving  general  currency  to  those 
ideas  of  the  supreme  value  of  moral  worthiness  which  we 
have  seen  among  the  moralists  and  social  philosophers  of 
the  Pharaoh's  court  several  centuries  earlier,  in  the  Feu- 
dal Age.  The  Osiris  faith  had  thus  become  a  great  power 
for  righteousness  among  the  people.  While  the  Osirian 
destiny  was  open  to  all,  nevertheless  all  must  prove  them- 
selves morally  acceptable  to  him. 

Had  the  priests  left  the  matter  thus,  all  would  have 
been  well.  Unhappily,  however,  the  development  of  be- 
lief in  the  efficacy  of  magic  in  the  next  world  continued. 
All  material  blessings,  as  we  have  seen,  might  infallibly 
be  attained  by  the  use  of  the  proper  charm.  Even  the 
less  tangible  mental  equipment,  the  "heart,"  meaning  the 
understanding,  might  also  be  restored  by  magical  agencies. 


308    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

It  was  inevitable  that  the  priests  should  now  take  the 
momentous  step  of  permitting  such  agencies  to  enter  also 
the  world  of  moral  values.  Magic  might  become  an 
agent  for  moral  ends.  The  Book  of  the  Dead  is  chiefly  a 
book  of  magical  charms,  and  the  section  pertaining  to  the 
judgment  did  not  continue  to  remain  an  exception.  The 
poignant  words  addressed  by  Ani  to  his  heart  as  it  was 
weighed  in  the  balances,  "  O  my  heart,  rise  not  up  against 
me  as  a  witness,"  were  now  written  upon  a  stone  image  of 
the  sacred  beetle,  the  scarabeus,  and  placed  over  the 
heart  as  a  mandate  of  magical  potency  preventing  the 
heart  from  betraying  the  character  of  the  deceased.  The 
words  of  this  charm  became  a  chapter  of  the  Book  of  the 
Dead,  where  they  bore  the  title,  "  Chapter  of  Preventing 
that  the  Heart  of  a  Man  Oppose  Him  in  the  Nether 
World."  x  The  scenes  of  the  judgment  and  the  text  of 
the  Declaration  of  Innocence  were  multiplied  on  rolls  by 
the  scribes  and  sold  to  all  the  people.  In  these  copies 
the  places  for  the  name  of  the  deceased  were  left  vacant, 
and  the  purchaser  filled  in  the  blanks  after  he  had  se- 
cured the  document.  The  words  of  the  verdict,  declar- 
ing the  deceased  had  successfully  met  the  judgment  and 
acquitting  him  of  evil,  were  not  lacking  in  any  of  these 
rolls.  Any  citizen  whatever  the  character  of  his  life  might 
thus  secure  from  the  scribes  a  certificate  declaring  that 
Blank  was  a  righteous  man  before  it  was  known  who 
Blank  would  be.  He  might  even  obtain  a  formulary  so 
mighty  that  the  Sun-god,  as  the  real  power  behind  the 
judgment,  would  be  cast  down  from  heaven  into  the  Nile, 
if  he  did  not  bring  forth  the  deceased  fully  justified  be- 
fore his  court.2    Thus  the  earliest  moral  development  which 

1  Book  of  the  Dead,  chap.  XXX. 

2  Book  of  the  Dead,    ed.  Naville,  chap.  LXV,  11.  10-16. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  309 

we  can  trace  in  the  ancient  East  was  suddenly  arrested,  or 
at  least  seriously  checked,  by  the  detestable  devices  of  a 
corrupt  priesthood  eager  for  gain. 

It  is  needless  to  point  out  the  confusion  of  distinctions 
involved  in  this  last  application  of  magic.  It  is  the  old 
failure  to  perceive  the  difference  between  that  which 
goeth  in  and  that  which  cometh  out  of  the  man.  A  jus- 
tification mechanically  applied  from  without,  and  freeing 
the  man  from  punishments  coming  from  without,  cannot, 
of  course,  heal  the  ravages  that  have  taken  place  within. 
The  voice  within,  to  which  the  Egyptian  was  more  sensi- 
tive than  any  people  of  the  earlier  East,  and  to  which  the 
whole  idea  of  the  moral  ordeal  in  the  hereafter  was  due, 
could  not  be  quieted  by  any  such  means.  The  general 
reliance  upon  such  devices  for  escaping  ultimate  respon- 
sibility for  an  unworthy  life  must  have  seriously  poi- 
soned the  life  of  the  people.  While  the  Book  of  the 
Dead  discloses  to  us  more  fully  than  ever  before  in  the 
history  of  Egypt  the  character  of  the  moral  judgment  in 
the  hereafter,  and  the  reality  with  which  the  Egyptian 
clothed  his  conception  of  moral  responsibility,  it  is  like- 
wise a  revelation  of  ethical  decadence.  In  so  far  as  the 
Book  of  the  Dead  had  become  a  magical  agency  for  se- 
curing moral  vindication  in  the  hereafter,  irrespective  of 
character,  it  had  become  a  positive  force  for  evil. 

So  strong  was  the  moral  sense  of  the  Egyptian,  how- 
ever, that  he  did  not  limit  the  value  of  a  worthy  life  to 
its  availability  in  rendering  him  acceptable  to  Osiris  in 
the  next  life.  Herein  lies  the  limitation  of  the  Osirian 
ethics  which  bade  a  man  think  only  of  moral  consequences 
beyond  the  grave.  After  all,  Osiris  was  a  god  of  the 
dead.  The  old  social  philosophers  of  the  Feudal  Age 
had  preached  the  righteousness  of  Re,  the  Sun-god,  and 


310    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

demanded  social  justice  here  because  Re  demanded  it. 
They  were  not  without  their  descendants  in  the  Empire — 
men  who  found  in  the  Solar  faith  an  obligation  to  right- 
eous living  here  and  now,  and  who  discerned  earthly 
rewards  in  so  living.  The  Sun-god  was  not  chiefly  a  god 
of  the  dead.  He  reigned  in  the  earthly  affairs  of  men, 
and  during  the  earthly  life  men  felt  the  moral  obligation 
which  he  placed  upon  them  hourly.  One  of  the  archi- 
tects of  Amenhotep  III,  addressing  a  hymn  of  praise  to 
the  Sun-god,  says:  "I  was  a  valiant  leader  among  thy 
monuments,  doing  righteousness  for  thy  heart.  I  know 
that  thou  art  satisfied  with  righteousness.  Thou  makest 
great  him  who  doeth  it  on  earth.  I  did  it  and  thou  didst 
make  me  great."  l  Similarly,  when  the  Pharaoh  made 
oath  he  swore,  "As  Re  loves  me,  as  my  father  Anion 
(long  since  identified  with  Re)  favors  me;"  2  and  the  con- 
queror Thutmose  III  in  making  this  oath  to  the  truth  of 
what  he  says,  and  affirming  his  respect  for  the  truth  in 
the  sight  of  his  god,  refers  to  the  Sun-god's  presence  thus : 
"  For  he  knoweth  heaven  and  he  knoweth  earth,  he  seeth 
the  whole  earth  hourly."  3  While  it  is  true  that  the  sub- 
terranean hereafter  of  the  Osiris  faith  depicts  the  Sun- 
god  as  journeying  from  cavern  to  cavern  beneath  the 
earth,  passing  through  the  realm  of  Osiris  and  bringing 
light  and  joy  to  the  dead  who  dwell  there,  this  is  a  con- 
ception unknown  to  the  early  Solar  theology  as  found  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts.4  In  the  Empire  the  Sun-god  is  pre- 
eminently a  god  of  the  world  of  living  men,  in  whose  af- 

1  British  Museum  Stela,  No.  826,  published  by  Birch,  Transac- 
tions of  the  Soc.  of  Bib.  Arch.,  VIII,  143;  and  in  Pierret's  Recueil,  I. 
I  had  also  my  own  copy  of  the  original. 

2  BAR,  II,  318,  570.  3  BAR,  II,  570. 

4  It  is  not  likely  that  the  "caves"  referred  to  in  Pyr.  §  852  have 
any  connection  with  the  subterranean  caverns  of  the  Osirian  faith. 


TRIUMPH  OF  OSIRIS  311 

fairs  he  is  constantly  present  and  active.  Men  feel  their 
responsibility  to  him  here  and  now,  and  that  dominion 
deepening  constantly  in  the  hearts  of  men  is  now  also 
to  expand  with  the  expanding  horizon  of  the  imperial 
age  until,  for  the  first  time  in  history,  there  dawns  upon 
the  eyes  of  these  early  Nile-dwellers  the  vision  of  the 
world-god. 


LECTURE  IX 

THE  IMPERIAL  AGE — THE  WORLD-STATE  MAKES  ITS  IM- 
PRESSION ON  RELIGION — TRIUMPH  OF  RE — EARLIEST 
MONOTHEISM — IKHNATON    (AMENHOTEP   IV) 

In  the  Feudal  Age  the  social  realm  had  made  its  im- 
pression upon  religion  as  in  the  Pyramid  Age  the  Egyp- 
tian state,  the  political  realm  had  done.  Both  these  were 
limited  to  the  territory  of  Egypt.  The  Pyramid  Age 
had  gained  a  dim  vision  of  the  vast  extent  of  the  Sun-god's 
domain,  and  had  once  addressed  him  by  the  sounding 
title  "Limitless."  l  But  this  remained,  as  it  were,  a  mo- 
mentary glimpse  without  effect  upon  the  Solar  theology 
as  a  whole.  The  Sun-god  ruled  only  Egypt,  and  in  the 
great  Sun-hymn  of  the  Pyramid  Texts  2  he  stands  guar- 
dian on  the  Egyptian  frontiers,  where  he  builds  the  gates 
which  restrain  all  outsiders  from  entering  his  inviolable 
domain.  In  the  Pyramid  Age,  too,  the  Sun-god  had  al- 
ready begun  the  process  of  absorbing  the  other  gods  of 
Egypt,  a  process  resulting  even  at  so  remote  a  date  in  a 
form  of  national  pantheism,  in  which  all  the  gods  ulti- 
mately coalesced  into  forms  and  functions  of  one.  But 
even  this  process,  though  it  did  not  cease,  had  left  the 
supreme  god's  dominion  still  restricted  to  Egypt.  He 
was  very  far  from  being  a  world-god.  The  Egyptians 
indeed  had  not  as  yet  gained  the  world-idea,  the  world- 
empire  over  which  they  might  install  the  world-ruler. 
The  influences  of  an  environment  restricted  to  the  limits 

1  Pyr.  §  1434.  2  See  above,  pp.  13-14. 

312 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM        313 

of  the  Nile  valley  had  now,  however,  gone  as  far  as  they 
could,  when  a  career  of  imposing  foreign  expansion  of 
national  power  enlarged  the  theatre  of  thought  and  action. 
The  Solar  theology  had  been  sensitively  responsive  to 
conditions  in  the  Nile- valley  world.  It  proved  to  be  not 
less  sensitive  to  the  larger  world,  to  include  which  the 
Egyptian  horizon  had  now  expanded. 

Egypt's  imperial  expansion  northward  and  southward 
until  the  Pharaoh's  power  had  united  the  contiguous 
regions  of  Asia  and  Africa  into  the  first  stable  Empire  in 
history  is  the  commanding  fact  in  the  history  of  the  East 
in  the  sixteenth  century  B.  C.  The  consolidation  of  that 
power  by  Thutmose  Ill's  twenty  years'  campaigning  in 
Asia  is  a  stirring  chapter  of  military  imperialism  in  which 
for  the  first  time  in  the  East  we  can  discern  the  skilfully 
organized  and  mobile  forces  of  a  great  state  as  they  are 
brought  to  bear  with  incessant  impact  upon  the  nations 
of  western  Asia,  until  the  Egyptian  supremacy  is  un- 
disputed from  the  Greek  Islands,  the  coasts  of  Asia  Minor, 
and  the  highlands  of  the  Upper  Euphrates  on  the  north 
to  the  Fourth  Cataract  of  the  Nile  on  the  south.  This 
great  military  leader  himself  made  the  remark  which  we 
have  quoted  above  regarding  his  god :  "  He  seeth  the  whole 
earth  hourly."  If  this  was  true  it  was  because  the  sword 
of  the  Pharaoh  had  carried  the  power  of  Egypt's  god  to 
the  limit  of  Egypt's  Empire.1  Fifty  years  earlier,  indeed, 
Thutmose  I  proclaimed  his  kingdom  as  far  as  "the  circuit 
of  the  sun."  2  In  the  Old  Kingdom  the  Sun-god  was  con- 
ceived as  a  Pharaoh,  whose  kingdom  was  Egypt.  With 
the  expansion  of  the  Egyptian  kingdom  into  a  world- 
empire  it  was  inevitable  that  the  domain  of  the  god 

1  See  Thutmose  Ill's  Hymn  of  Victory,  BAR,  II,  655-662. 

2  BAR,  II,  98. 


314    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

should  likewise  expand.  As  the  kingdom  had  long  since 
found  expression  in  religion,  so  now  the  Empire  was  a 
powerful  influence  upon  religious  thought. 

While  this  was  a  more  or  less  mechanical  and  uncon- 
scious process,  it  was  accompanied  by  an  intellectual 
awakening  which  shook  the  old  Egyptian  traditions  to 
the  foundations  and  set  the  men  of  the  age  to  thinking 
in  a  larger  world.  Thutmose  III  was  the  first  character 
of  universal  aspects,  the  first  world-hero.  As  such  he 
made  a  profound  impression  upon  his  age.  The  idea  of 
universal  power,  of  a  world-empire,  was  visibly  and  tan- 
gibly bodied  forth  in  his  career.  There  is  a  touch  of  uni- 
versalism  now  discernible  in  the  theology  of  the  Empire 
which  is  directly  due  to  such  impressions  as  he  and  his 
successors  made.  Egypt  is  forced  out  of  the  immemorial 
isolation  of  her  narrow  valley  into  wTorld-relations,  with 
which  the  theology  of  the  time  must  reckon — relations 
with  which  the  Sun-god,  as  we  have  seen,  was  inextricably 
involved.  Commercial  connections,  maintained  from  an 
immemorially  remote  past,  had  not  sufficed  to  bring  the 
great  world  without  into  the  purview  of  Egyptian  think- 
ing. The  limits  of  the  dominion  of  the  Egyptian  gods 
had  been  fixed  as  the  outer  fringes  of  the  Nile  valley  long 
before  the  outside  world  was  familiar  to  the  Nile-dwellers; 
and  merely  commercial  intercourse  with  a  larger  world 
had  not  been  able  to  shake  the  tradition.  Many  a  mer- 
chant had  seen  a  stone  fall  in  distant  Babylon  and  in 
Thebes  alike,  but  it  had  not  occurred  to  him,  or  to  any 
man  in  that  far-off  age,  that  the  same  natural  force 
reigned  in  these  widely  separated  countries.  The  world 
was  far  indeed  from  the  lad  lying  beneath  the  apple-tree 
and  discovering  a  universal  force  in  the  fall  of  an  apple. 
Many  a  merchant  of  that  day,  too,  had  seen  the  sun  rise 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM        315 

behind  the  Babylonian  ziggurats  as  it  did  among  the 
clustered  obelisks  of  Thebes,  but  the  thought  of  the  age 
had  not  yet  come  to  terms  with  such  far-reaching  facts  as 
these.  It  was  universalism  expressed  in  terms  of  imperial 
power  which  first  caught  the  imagination  of  the  thinking 
men  of  the  Empire,  and  disclosed  to  them  the  universal 
sweep  of  the  Sun-god's  dominion  as  a  physical  fact. 
Monotheism  is  but  imperialism  in  religion. 

It  is  no  accident,  therefore,  that  about  1400  B.  C,  in  the 
reign  of  Amenhotep  III,  the  most  splendid  of  the  Egyp- 
tian emperors,  we  find  the  first  of  such  impressions.  Two 
architects,  Suti  and  Hor,  twin  brothers,  whom  Amenhotep 
III  was  employing  at  Thebes,  have  left  us  a  Sun-hymn 
on  a  stela  now  in  the  British  Museum,1  which  discloses 
the  tendency  of  the  age  and  the  widening  vision  with  which 
these  men  of  the  Empire  were  looking  out  upon  the  world 
and  discerning  the  unlimited  scope  of  the  Sun-god's  realm. 

"Hail  to  thee,  beautiful  god  of  every  day! 
Rising  in  the  morning  without  ceasing, 
[•Not1]  wearied  in  labor. 
When  thy  rays  are  visible, 
Gold  is  not  considered, 
It  is  not  like  thy  brilliance. 
Thou  art  a  craftsman  shaping  thine  own  limbs; 
Fashioner  without  being  fashioned; 2 

1  British  Museum  Stela,  No.  826.  This  important  monument 
much  needs  an  adequate  publication.  It  is  accessible  only  in  two 
very  incorrect  copies,  published  by  Birch,  Trans.  Soc.  Bib.  Arch., 
VIII,  143,  and  Pierret,  in  his  Recueil,  I.  I  had  also  my  own 
copy  made  in  student  days,  and  not  much  more  reliable  than  the 
publications.  I  have  not  yet  seen  Scott-Moncrieff's  recent  vol- 
ume of  British  Museum  stelse,  and  do  not  know  whether  it  was  in- 
cluded by  him.  The  above  translation  could  undoubtedly  be  cor- 
rected in  parts  on  the  basis  of  a  better  text. 

2  Or  ''Begetter  without  being  born,"  as  already  in  the  Middle 
Kingdom;  see  above,  p.  274. 


316    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Unique  in  his  qualities,  traversing  eternity; 

Over  ways  rwith1  millions  under  his  guidance. 

Thy  brilliance  is  like  the  brilliance  of  the  sky, 

Thy  colors  gleam  more  than  the  hues  of  it.1 

When  thou  sailest  across  the  sky  all  men  behold  thee, 

(Though)  thy  going  is  hidden  from  their  sight. 

When  thou  showest  thyself  at  morning  every  day, 

.  .  .  under  thy  majesty,  though  the  day  be  brief, 

Thou  traversest  a  journey  of  leagues, 

Even  millions  and  hundred-thousands  of  time. 

Every  day  is  under  thee. 

When  thy  setting  •comes1, 

The  hours  of  the  night  hearken  to  thee  likewise. 

When  thou  hast  traversed  it 

There  comes  no  ending  to  thy  labors. 

All  men,  they  see  by  means  of  thee. 

Nor  do  they  finish  when  thy  majesty  sets, 

(For)  thou  wakest  to  rise  in  the  morning, 

And  thy  radiance,  it  opens  the  eyes  (again). 

When  thou  settest  in  Manu, 

Then  they  sleep  like  the  dead. 

Hail  to  thee!    O  disk  of  day, 

Creator  of  all  and  giver  of  their  sustenance, 

Great  Falcon,  brilliantly  plumaged, 

Brought  forth  to  raise  himself  on  high  of  himself, 

Self-generator,  without  being  born. 

First-born  Falcon  in  the  midst  of  the  sky, 

To  whom  jubilation  is  made  at  his  rising  and  his  setting  likewise. 

Fashioner  of  the  produce  of  the  soil, 

Taking  possession  of  the  Two  Lands  (Egypt),  from  great  to  small, 

A  mother,  profitable  to  gods  and  men, 

A  craftsman  of  experience,  .  .  . 

Valiant  herdman  who  drives  his  cattle, 

Their  refuge  and  giver  of  their  sustenance, 

Who  passes  by,  running  the  course  of  Khepri  (the  Sun-god), 

1  The  word  "hues"  is  the  word  commonly  meaning  "skin."  That 
it  has  the  meaning  "hue"  or  similar  is  shown  by  similar  passages 
in  Naville,  Mythe  aVHorus,  pi.  xii,  1.  2;  Amarna  Hymn  of  Tutu% 
1.  2,  and  Amarna  Hymn  of  Api,  11.  2-3. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM         317 

Who  determines  his  own  birth, 

Exalting  his  beauty  in  the  body  of  Nut, 

Illuminating  the  Two  Lands  (Egypt)  with  his  disk, 

The  primordial  being,  who  himself  made  himself; 

Who  beholds  that  which  he  has  made, 

Sole  lord  taking  captive  all  lands  every  day, 

As  one  beholding  them  that  walk  therein; 

Shining  in  the  sky  ra  being  as  the  sun1. 

He  makes  the  seasons  by  the  months, 

Heat  when  he  desires, 

Cold  when  he  desires. 

He  makes  the  limbs  to  languish 

When  he  enfolds  them, 

Every  land  is  in  rejoicing 

At  his  rising  every  day,  in  order  to  praise  him." 

It  is  evident  in  such  a  hymn  as  this  that  the  vast  sweep 
of  the  Sun-god's  course  over  all  the  lands  and  peoples  of 
the  earth  has  at  last  found  consideration,  and  the  logical 
conclusion  has  also  followed.  The  old  stock  phrases  of 
the  earlier  hymns,  the  traditional  references  to  the  fal- 
con, and  the  mythological  allusions  involved  have  not 
wholly  disappeared,  but  the  momentous  step  has  been 
taken  of  extending  the  sway  of  the  Sun-god  over  all  lands 
and  peoples.  No  earlier  document  left  us  by  the  thought 
of  Egypt  contains  such  unequivocal  expression  of  this 
thought  as  we  find  here: 

"Sole  lord,  taking  captive  all  lands  every  day, 
As  one  beholding  them  that  walk  therein." 

It  is  important  to  observe  also  that  this  tendency  is  con- 
nected directly  with  the  social  movement  of  the  Feudal 
Age.     Such  epithets  applied  to  the  Sun-god  as 

"Valiant  herdman  who  drives  his  cattle, 
Their  refuge  and  the  giver  of  their  sustenance," 


318    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

of  course  carry  us  back  to  the  address  of  Ipuwer  and  his 
"shepherd  of  all  men."  l    The  other  remarkable  epithet, 

"A  mother,  profitable  to  gods  and  men," 

carries  with  it  the  idea  of  similar  solicitude  for  mankind. 
The  humane  aspects  of  the  Sun-god's  sway,  to  which  the 
social  thinkers  of  the  Feudal  Age  chiefly  contributed,  have 
not  disappeared  among  the  powerful  political  motives  of 
this  new  universalism. 

This  hymn  of  the  two  architects  is,  however,  likewise  a 
revelation  of  one  of  the  chief  difficulties  in  the  internal 
situation  of  the  Pharaoh  at  this  time.  The  hymn  bears 
the  title:  "Adoration  of  Amon  when  he  rises  as  Harakhte 
(Horus  of  the  Horizon) ";  that  is  to  say,  the  hymn  is  ad- 
dressed to  Amon  as  Sun-god.  Amon,  the  old  obscure  local 
god  of  Thebes,  whose  name  is  not  to  be  found  in  the  great 
religious  documents  of  the  earlier  age  like  the  Pyramid 
Texts,2  had  by  this  time  gained  the  chief  place  in  the 
state  theology,  owing  to  the  supreme  position  held  by 
the  ruling  family  of  his  native  town  in  the  Empire.  The- 
ologically, he  had  long  succumbed  to  the  ancient  tendency 
which  identified  the  old  local  gods  with  the  Sun-god,  and 
he  had  long  been  called  "  Amon-Re."  His  old  local  char- 
acteristics, whatever  they  may  have  been,  had  been  sup- 
planted by  those  of  the  Sun-god,  and  the  ancient  local 
Amon  had  been  completely  Solarized.  In  this  way  it 
had  been  possible  to  raise  him  to  the  supreme  place  in 
the  pantheon.     At  the  same  time  this  supremacy  was 

^ee  above,  p.  211. 

2  His  name  occurs  four  times  in  the  Turin  Book  of  the  Dead,  pub- 
lished by  Lepsius.  It  does  not  occur  at  all  in  the  Pyramid  Texts, 
unless  the  reference  in  Pyr.  §  1095  is  to  him,  which  seems  to  me  not 
entirely  certain. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM        319 

not  confined  to  theological  theory.  Economically  and 
administratively,  Amon  actually  received  the  first  place 
among  the  gods.  For  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  the 
country  the  great  organizer,  Thutmose  III,  seems  to 
have  merged  the  priesthoods  of  all  the  temples  of  the  land 
into  one  great  sacerdotal  organization,  at  the  head  of 
which  he  placed  the  High  Priest  of  Amon.1  This  is  the 
earliest  national  priesthood  as  yet  known  in  the  early 
East,  and  the  first  pontifex  maximus.  This  Amonite 
papacy  constituted  a  powerful  political  obstacle  in  the 
way  of  realizing  the  supremacy  of  the  ancient  Sun-god. 

When  Amenhotep  Ill's  son,  Amenhotep  IV,  succeeded 
his  father,  about  1375  B.  C,  a  keen  struggle  arose  between 
the  royal  house,  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  sacerdotal  or- 
ganization dominated  by  Amon,  on  the  other.  It  is  evi- 
dent that  the  young  king  favored  the  claims  of  the  old 
Sun-god  as  opposed  to  those  of  Amon,  but  early  in  his 
reign  we  find  him  ardently  supporting  a  new  form  of  the 
old  Solar  faith,  which  may  have  been  the  result  of  a  com- 
promise between  the  two.  At  a  time  when  the  Asiatic 
situation  was  exceedingly  critical,  and  the  Pharaoh's  su- 
premacy there  was  threatened,  he  devoted  himself  with 
absorbing  zeal  to  the  new  Solar  universalism  which  we 
have  discerned  under  his  father.  The  Sun-god  was  given 
a  designation  which  freed  the  new  faith  from  the  com- 
promising polytheistic  tradition  of  the  old  Solar  theology. 
He  was  now  called  "Aton,"  an  ancient  name  for  the 
physical  sun,  and  probably  designating  his  disk.     It  oc- 

xHapuseneb,  the  first  High  Priest  of  Amon,  who  occupied  the 
position  at  the  head  of  the  new  sacerdotal  organization,  was  grand 
vizier  under  queen  Hatshepsut,  but  it  is  more  likely  that  her  hus- 
band, Thutmose  III,  effected  this  organization  than  that  she  should 
have  done  it.  However  this  may  be,  the  evidence  will  be  found  in 
BAR,  II,  388  #. 


320    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

curs  twice  in  the  hymn  of  the  two  architects  of  Amenho- 
tep  III,  translated  above,  and  it  had  already  gained  some 
favor  under  this  king,  who  named  one  of  his  royal  barges 
"  Aton-Gleams."  l  There  was  an  effort  made  to  make  the 
name  "Aton"  equivalent  in  some  of  the  old  forms  to  the 
word  "god";  thus  the  traditional  term  "divine  offering" 
(lit.  "god's  offering")  was  now  called  "Aton  offering."2 
Not  only  did  the  Sun-god  receive  a  new  name,  but  the 
young  king  now  gave  him  a  new  symbol  also.  The  most 
ancient  symbol  of  the  Sun-god,  as  we  have  seen,  was  a 
pyramid,  and  as  a  falcon  the  figure  of  that  bird  was  also 
used  to  designate  him.  These,  however,  were  intelligible 
only  in  Egypt,  and  Amenhotep  IV  had  a  wider  arena  in 
view.  The  new  symbol  depicted  the  sun  as  a  disk  from 
which  diverging  beams  radiated  downward,  each  ray  ter- 
minating in  a  human  hand.  It  was  a  masterly  symbol, 
suggesting  a  power  issuing  from  its  celestial  source,  and 
putting  its  hand  upon  the  world  and  the  affairs  of  men. 
As  far  back  as  the  Pyramid  Texts  the  rays  of  the  Sun-god 
had  been  likened  to  his  arms  and  had  been  conceived  as 
an  agency  on  earth:  "The  arm  of  the  sunbeams  is  lifted 
with  king  Unis,"  3  raising  him  to  the  skies.  Such  a  symbol 
was  suited  to  be  understood  throughout  the  world  which 
the  Pharaoh  controlled.  There  was  also  some  effort  to 
define  the  Solar  power  thus  symbolized.  The  full  name 
of  the  Sun-god  was  "Harakhte  (Horizon-Horus),  rejoicing 
in  the  horizon  in  his  name  'Heat  which  is  in  Aton.'"  It 
was  enclosed  in  two  royal  cartouches,  like  the  double 
name  of  the  Pharaoh,  a  device  suggested  by  the  analogy 
of  the  Pharaoh's  power,  and  another  clear  evidence  of  the 
impression  which  the  Empire  as  a  state  had  now  made  on 

1  BAR,  II,  869;   see  also  the  author's  History  of  Egypt,  p.  360. 

2  BAR.  II,  987.  3Pyr.  §334. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM        321 

the  Solar  theology.  But  the  name  enclosed  in  the  car- 
touches roughly  defined  the  actual  physical  force  of  the 
sun  in  the  visible  world,  and  was  no  political  figure.  The 
word  rendered  "heat"  sometimes  also  means  "light."  It 
is  evident  that  what  the  king  was  deifying  was  the  force 
by  which  the  Sun  made  himself  felt  on  earth.  In  harmony 
with  this  conclusion  are  the  numerous  statements  in  the 
Aton  hymns,  which,  as  we  shall  see,  represent  Aton  as 
everywhere  active  on  earth  by  means  of  his  "rays." 
While  it  is  evident  that  the  new  faith  drew  its  inspi- 
ration from  Heliopolis,  so  that  the  king  assuming  the 
office  of  High  Priest  of  Aton  called  himself  "Great 
Seer,"  the  title  of  the  High  Priest  of  Heliopolis,  never- 
theless most  of  the  old  lumber  which  made  up  the  exter- 
nals of  the  traditional  theology  was  rejected.  We  look 
in  vain  for  the  sun-barques,  and  in  the  same  way 
also  later  accretions,  like  the  voyage  through  the  subter- 
ranean caverns  of  the  dead,  are  completely  shorn  away.1 
To  introduce  the  Aton  faith  into  Thebes,  Amenhotep  IV 
erected  there  a  sumptuous  temple  of  the  new  god,  which, 
of  course,  received  liberal  endowments  from  the  royal 
treasury.  If  the  Aton  movement  was  intended  as  a  com- 
promise with  the  priests  of  Amon,  it  failed.  The  bitterest 
enmities  soon  broke  out,  culminating  finally  in  the  deter- 
mination on  the  king's  part  to  make  Aton  sole  god  of  the 
Empire  and  to  annihilate  Amon.  The  effort  to  obliterate 
all  trace  of  the  existence  of  the  upstart  Amon  resulted  in 
the  most  extreme  measures.  The  king  changed  his  own 
name  from  "Amenhotep"  ("Amen  rests"  ro  "is  satisfied") 

1  The  decree  for  the  burial  of  the  sacred  bull  of  Heliopolis,  Mnevis, 
at  Amarna  (Davies,  Amarna,  V,  p.  30)  is  clearly  a  compromise  with 
the  Heliopolitan  priests,  but  of  course  does  not  mean  "  animal  wor- 
ship." 


322     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

to  "Ikhnaton,"  which  means  "Aton  is  satisfied,"  and  is  a 
translation  of  the  king's  old  name  into  a  corresponding 
idea  in  the  Aton  faith.1  The  name  of  Amon,  wherever  it 
occurred  on  the  great  monuments  of  Thebes,  was  expunged, 
and  in  doing  so  not  even  the  name  of  the  king's  father, 
Amenhotep  III,  was  respected.  These  erasures  were  not 
confined  to  the  name  of  Amon.  Even  the  word  "gods" 
as  a  compromising  plural  was  expunged  wherever  found, 
and  the  names  of  the  other  gods,  too,  were  treated  like 
that  of  Amon.2 

Finding  Thebes  embarrassed  with  too  many  theological 
traditions,  in  spite  of  its  prestige  and  its  splendor,  Ikhnaton 
forsook  it  and  built  a  new  capital  about  midway  between 
Thebes  and  the  sea,  at  a  place  now  commonly  known  as 
Tell  el-Amarna.  He  called  it  Akhetaton,  "Horizon  of 
Aton."  The  name  of  the  Sun-god  is  the  only  divine  name 
found  in  the  place,  and  it  was  evidently  intended  as  a 
centre  for  the  dissemination  of  Solar  monotheism.  Here 
several  sanctuaries3  of  Aton  were  erected,  and  in  the 
boundary  landmarks,  imposing  stelse  which  the  king  set 
up  in  the  eastern  and  western  cliffs,  the  place  was  formally 
devoted  to  his  exclusive  service.  A  similar  Aton  city 
was  founded  in  Nubia,  and  in  all  likelihood  there  was 
another  in  Asia.  The  three  great  portions  of  the  Empire, 
Egypt,  Nubia,  and  Syria,  were  thus  each  given  a  centre 

1  See  Sethe,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  44,  116-118,  where  this 
new  rendering  of  the  name  is  demonstrated.  The  rendering  in  the 
author's  history,  p.  364,  is  to  be  changed  accordingly. 

2tIt  has  been  widely  stated  that  the  hostility  of  Ikhnaton  did  not 
extend  beyond  his  erasure  of  Amon;  but  this  is  an  error.  I  found 
other  gods  expunged  in  Nubia.  See  also  my  remarks  in  Zeitschr. 
fiir  aegypt.  Sprache,  40,  109-110. 

3  There  were  at  least  four.  The  earlier  Boundary  Stelae  give  five 
(Davies,  Amarna,  V,  p.  30),  but  one  is  evidently  a  dittography  of 
the  preceding  in  the  ancient  scribes  copy. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       323 

of  the  Aton  faith.     Besides  these  sanctuaries  of  Aton 
were  also  built  at  various  other  places  in  Egypt.1 

This  was,  of  course,  not  accomplished  without  building 
up  a  powerful  court  party,  which  the  king  could  oppose, 
to  the  evicted  priesthoods,  especially  that  of  Amon.  The 
resulting  convulsion  undoubtedly  affected  seriously  the 
power  of  the  royal  house.  The  life  of  this  court  party, 
which  now  unfolded  at  Akhetaton,  centred  about  the 
propagation  of  the  new  faith,  and  as  preserved  to  us  in 
the  wall  reliefs  which  fill  the  chapels  of  the  cliff  tombs, 
excavated  by  the  king  for  his  nobles  in  the  face  of  the  low 
cliffs  of  the  eastern  plateau  behind  the  new  city,  it  forms, 
perhaps,  the  most  interesting  and  picturesque  chapter  in 
the  story  of  the  early  East.2  It  is  to  the  tombs  of  these 
partisans  of  the  king  that  we  owe  our  knowledge  of  the 
content  of  the  remarkable  teaching  which  he  was  now 
propagating.  They  contain  a  series  of  hymns  in  praise 
of  the  Sun-god,  or  of  the  Sun-god  and  the  king  alternately, 
which  afford  us  at  least  a  glimpse  into  the  new  world  of 
thought,  in  which  we  behold  this  young  king  and  his 

XA  list  of  the  Aton  temples  will  be  found  in  my  essay  in  the 
Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  40,  106-113.  The  Nubian  city  of 
Ikhnaton  was  found  in  1907  by  the  University  of  Chicago  Expedi- 
tion.    See  my  Monuments  of  Sudanese  Nubia,  pp.  51-82. 

2  These  tombs  were  frequently  visited  and  studied  in  the  early 
days  of  Egyptology,  and  fragmentarily  published.  No  complete 
publication,  however,  was  issued  until  1903-8,  when  N.  de  G. 
Davies  published  his  valuable  Rock  Tombs  of  El  Amarna,  vols. 
I-VI,  London,  1903-8,  which  includes  everything  at  Amarna 
except  the  town  site  and  the  tomb  of  the  king.  I  copied  the  most 
important  hymns  there  in  1895,  and  these  two  sources  are  the  bases 
of  the  renderings  given  above.  For  a  presentation  of  the  Amarna 
situation,  historically  considered,  especially  the  life  of  the  court  in 
the  new  environment,  the  reader  may  refer  to  the  author's  History 
of  Egypt,  pp.  358-378.  A  popular  discussion  and  description  of  the 
remarkable  reliefs  in  the  tombs  will  be  found  in  the  author's  Two 
Thousand  Miles  Up  the  Nile,  soon  to  be  published. 


324    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

associates  lifting  up  their  eyes  and  endeavoring  to  dis- 
cern God  in  the  illimitable  sweep  of  his  power — God  no 
longer  of  the  Nile  valley  only,  but  of  all  men  and  of  all 
the  world.  We  can  do  no  better  at  this  juncture  than  to 
let  these  hymns  speak  for  themselves.  The  longest  and 
most  important  is  as  follows:1 

UNIVERSAL  SPLENDOR  AND   POWER   OF  ATON 

"Thy  dawning  is  beautiful  in  the  horizon  of  the  sky, 
O  living  Aton,  Beginnmg-xiliifeJ 
When  thou  risest  in  the  eastern  horizon, 
Thou  fillest  every  land  with  thy  beauty. 
Thou  art  beautiful,  great,  glittering,  high  above  every  land, 
Thy  rays,  they  encompass  the  lands,  even  all  that  thou  hast  made. 
Thou  art  Re,  and  thou  earnest  them  all  away  captive; 2 
Thou  bindest  them  by  thy  love. 
Though  thou  art  far  away,  thy  rays  are  upon  earth; 
Though  thou  art  on  high,  thy  [footprints  are  the  day\ 

NIGHT 

"When  thou  settest  in  the  western  horizon  of  the  sky, 
The  earth  is  in  darkness  like  the  dead; 
They  sleep  in  their  chambers, 
Their  heads  are  wrapped  up, 
Their  nostrils  are  stopped, 
And  none  seeth  the  other, 
While  all  their  things  are  stolen 

xThe  best  text  is  that  of  Davies,  Amarna,  VI,  pi.  xxix.  Full 
commentary  will  be  found  in  my  De  hymnis  in  solem  sub  rege  Ame- 
nophide  IV.  conceptis,  Berlin,  1894,  though  unfortunately  based  on 
the  older  text  of  Bouriant.  Some  changes  in  the  above  translation, 
as  compared  with  that  in  the  author's  History,  are  due  to  a  few  new 
readings  in  Davies's  text,  as  well  as  to  further  study  of  the  docu- 
ment also.  The  division  into  strophes  is  not  in  the  original,  but  is 
indicated  here  for  the  sake  of  clearness.  The  titles  of  the  strophes 
I  have  inserted  to  aid  the  modern  reader. 

2  There  is  a  pun  here  on  the  word  Re,  which  is  the  same  as  the 
word  used  for  "all." 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       325 

Which  are  under  their  heads, 

And  they  know  it  not. 

Every  lion  cometh  forth  from  his  den, 

All  serpents,  they  sting. 

Darkness  .  .  . 

The  world  is  in  silence, 

He  that  made  them  resteth  in  his  horizon. 

DAY  AND   MAN 

"Bright  is  the  earth  when  thou  risest  in  the  horizon. 
When  thou  shinest  as  Aton  by  day 
Thou  drivest  away  the  darkness. 
When  thou  sendest  forth  thy  rays, 
The  Two  Lands  (Egypt)  are  in  daily  festivity, 
Awake  and  standing  upon  their  feet 
When  thou  hast  raised  them  up. 
Their  limbs  bathed,  they  take  their  clothing, 
Their  arms  uplifted  in  adoration  to  thy  dawning. 
(Then)  in  all  the  world  they  do  their  work. 

DAY  AND   THE   ANIMALS  AND  PLANTS 

"All  cattle  rest  upon  their  pasturage, 
The  trees  and  the  plants  flourish, 
The  birds  flutter  in  their  marshes, 
Their  wings  uplifted  in  adoration  to  thee. 
All  the  sheep  dance  upon  their  feet, 
All  winged  things  fly, 
They  live  when  thou  hast  shone  upon  them. 

DAY  AND   THE   WATERS 

"The  barques  sail  up-stream  and  down-stream  alike. 
Every  highway  is  open  because  thou  dawnest. 
The  fish  in  the  river  leap  up  before  thee. 
Thy  rays  are  in  the  midst  of  the  great  green  sea. 

CREATION   OF   MAN 

"Creator  of  the  germ  in  woman, 
Maker  of  seed  in  man, 
Giving  life  to  the  son  in  the  body  of  his  mother, 


326    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Soothing  him  that  he  may  not  weep, 

Nurse  (even)  in  the  womb, 

Giver  of  breath  to  animate  every  one  that  he  maketh! 

When  he  cometh  forth  from  the  body  ...  on  the  day  of  his  birth, 

Thou  openest  his  mouth  in  speech, 

Thou  suppliest  his  necessities. 

CREATION  OF  ANIMALS 

"When  the  fledgling  in  the  egg  chirps  in  the  shell, 
Thou  givest  him  breath  therein  to  preserve  him  alive. 
When  thou  hast  r  brought  him  together1, 
To  (the  point  of)  bursting  it  in  the  egg, 
He  cometh  forth  from  the  egg 
To  chirp  rwith  all  his  might1. 
He  goeth  about  upon  his  two  feet 
When  he  hath  come  forth  therefrom. 

THE   WHOLE  CREATION 

"How  manifold  are  thy  works! 
They  are  hidden  from  before  (us), 
O  sole  God,  whose  powers  no  other  possesseth.1 
Thou  didst  create  the  earth  according  to  thy  heart 2 
While  thou  wast  alone : 
Men,  all  cattle  large  and  small, 
All  that  are  upon  the  earth, 
That  go  about  upon  their  feet; 
[All]  that  are  on  high, 
That  fly  with  their  wings. 
The  foreign  countries,  Syria  and  Kush, 
The  land  of  Egypt; 

1  The  shorter  hymns  follow  the  phrase  "sole  God,"  with  the  addi- 
tion, "beside  whom  there  is  no  other"  (see  Davies,  Amarna,  I, 
XXXVI,  1.  1,  and  III,  XXIX,  1.  1). 

This  use  of  the  word  sp  for  "quality"  or  "power"  will  be  found 
also  in  the  hymn  of  Suti  and  Hor  translated  above  (Brit.  Mus.  Stela 
826,  1.  3);  Great  Hymn  to  Amon  (1,  5),  and  similarly  on  the  late 
statue  of  Hor  (Louvre  88,  Brugsch,  Thes.,  VI,  1251,  1.  1). 

2  The  word  "heart"  may  mean  either  "pleasure"  or  "under- 
standing" here. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       327 

Thou  settest  every  man  into  his  place, 

Thou  suppliest  their  necessities. 

Every  one  has  his  possessions, 

And  his  days  are  reckoned. 

The  tongues  are  divers  in  speech, 

Their  forms  likewise  and  their  skins  are  distinguished. 

(For)  thou  makest  different  the  strangers. 

WATERING  THE  EARTH  IN  EGYPT  AND  ABROAD 

"Thou  makest  the  Nile  in  the  Nether  World, 
Thou  bringest  it  as  thou  desirest, 
To  preserve  alive  the  people.1 
For  thou  hast  made  them  for  thyself, 
The  lord  of  them  all,  resting  among  them; 
Thou  lord  of  every  land,  who  risest  for  them, 
Thou  Sun  of  day,  great  in  majesty. 
All  the  distant  countries, 
Thou  makest  (also)  their  life, 
Thou  hast  set  a  Nile  in  the  sky; 
When  it  falleth  for  them, 
It  maketh  waves  upon  the  mountains, 
Like  the  great  green  sea, 
Watering  their  fields  in  their  towns. 

"How  excellent  are  thy  designs,  0  lord  of  eternity! 
There  is  a  Nile  in  the  sky  for  the  strangers 
And  for  the  cattle  of  every  country  that  go  upon  their  feet. 
(But)  the  Nile,  it  cometh  from  the  Nether  World  for  Egypt. 

THE  SEASONS 

"Thy  rays  nourish2  every  garden; 
When  thou  risest  they  live, 
They  grow  by  thee. 
Thou  makest  the  seasons 
In  order  to  create  all  thy  work: 
Winter  to  bring  them  coolness, 
And  heat  that  rthey  may  taste1  thee. 

1  The  word  is  one  used  only  of  the  people  of  Egypt. 

2  The  word  used  implies  the  nourishment  of  a  mother  at  the  breast. 


328     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Thou  didst  make  the  distant  sky  to  rise  therein, 

In  order  to  behold  all  that  thou  hast  made, 

Thou  alone,  shining  in  thy  form  as  living  Aton, 

Dawning,  glittering,  going  afar  and  returning. 

Thou  makest  millions  of  forms 

Through  thyself  alone; 

Cities,  towns,  and  tribes,  highways  and  rivers. 

All  eyes  see  thee  before  them, 

For  thou  art  Aton  of  the  day  over  the  earth. 


REVELATION   TO   THE   KING 

"Thou  art  in  my  heart, 
There  is  no  other  that  knoweth  thee 
Save  thy  son  Ikhnaton. 
Thou  hast  made  him  wise 
In  thy  designs  and  in  thy  might. 
The  world  is  in  thy  hand, 
Even  as  thou  hast  made  them. 
When  thou  hast  risen  they  live, 
When  thou  settest  they  die; 
For  thou  art  length  of  life  of  thyself, 
Men  live  through  thee, 
While  (their)  eyes  are  upon  thy  beauty 
Until  thou  settest. 
All  labor  is  put  away 
When  thou  settest  in  the  west. 


Thou  didst  establish  the  world, 

And  raise  them  up  for  thy  son, 

Who  came  forth  from  thy  limbs, 

The  king  of  Upper  and  Lower  Egypt, 

Living  in  Truth,  Lord  of  the  Two  Lands, 

Nefer-khepru-Re,  Wan-Re  (Ikhnaton), 

Son  of  Re,  living  in  Truth,  lord  of  diadems, 

Ikhnaton,  whose  life  is  long; 

(And  for)  the  chief  royal  wife,  his  beloved, 

Mistress  of  the  Two  Lands,  Nefer-nefru-Aton,  Nof retete, 

Living  and  flourishing  for  ever  and  ever." 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       329 

This  great  royal  hymn  doubtless  represents  an  excerpt,  or 
a  series  of  fragments  excerpted,  from  the  ritual  of  Aton, 
as  it  was  celebrated  from  day  to  day  in  the  Aton  temple 
at  Amarna.  Unhappily,  it  was  copied  in  the  cemetery  in 
but  one  tomb,  where  about  a  third  of  it  has  perished  by 
the  vandalism  of  the  modern  natives,  leaving  us  for  the 
lost  portion  only  a  very  inaccurate  and  hasty  modern 
copy  of  thirty  years  ago  (1883).  The  other  tombs  were 
supplied,  with  their  devotional  inscriptions,  from  the  cur- 
rent paragraphs  and  stock  phrases  which  made  up  the 
knowledge  of  the  Aton  faith  as  understood  by  the  scribes 
and  painters  who  decorated  these  tombs.  It  should  not 
be  forgotten,  therefore,  that  the  fragments  of  the  Aton 
faith  which  have  survived  to  us  in  the  Amarna  cemetery, 
our  chief  source,  have  thus  filtered  mechanically  through 
the  indifferent  hands,  and  the  starved  and  listless  minds 
of  a  few  petty  bureaucrats  on  the  outskirts  of  a  great  re- 
ligious and  intellectual  movement.  Apart  from  the  Royal 
Hymn,  they  were  elsewhere  content  with  bits  and  snatches 
copied  in  some  cases  from  the  Royal  Hymn  itself,  or  other 
fragments  patched  together  in  the  form  of  a  shorter  hymn, 
which  they  then  slavishly  copied  in  whole  or  in  part  from 
tomb  to  tomb.  Where  the  materials  are  so  meagre,  and 
the  movement  revealed  so  momentous,  even  the  few  new 
contributions  furnished  by  the  short  hymn  are  of  great 
value.1  In  four  cases  the  hymn  is  attributed  to  the  king 
himself;  that  is,  he  is  represented  as  reciting  it  to  Aton. 
The  lines  are  as  follows : 

1  The  short  hymn  was  put  together  in  a  composite  text  of  all  ver- 
sions in  the  second  (unpublished)  portion  of  my  De  hymnis  in  solem, 
and  this  was  later  supplemented  by  my  own  copies.  Davies  has 
also  put  together  a  composite  text  from  five  tombs  in  his  Amarna, 
IV,  pis.  xxxii-xxxiii.  The  above  translation  is  based  on  both 
sources. 


330    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"Thy  rising  is  beautiful,  O  living  Aton,  lord  of  Eternity; 
Thou  art  shining,  beautiful,  strong; 
Thy  love  is  great  and  mighty, 
Thy  rays  rare  cast1  into  every  face. 
Thy  glowing  hue  brings  life  to  hearts, 
When  thou  hast  filled  the  Two  Lands  with  thy  love. 
O  God  who  himself  fashioned  himself, 
Maker  of  every  land, 
Creator  of  that  which  is  upon  it: 
Men,  all  cattle  large  and  small, 
All  trees  that  grow  in  the  soil. 
They  live  when  thou  dawnest  for  them, 

Thou  art  the  mother  and  the  father  of  all  that  thou  hast  made. 
As  for  their  eyes,  when  thou  dawnest, 
They  see  by  means  of  thee. 
Thy  rays  illuminate  the  whole  earth, 
And  every  heart  rejoices  because  of  seeing  thee, 
When  thou  dawnest  as  their  lord. 

"When  thou  settest  in  the  western  horizon  of  the  sky, 
They  sleep  after  the  manner  of  the  dead, 
Their  heads  are  wrapped  up, 
Their  nostrils  are  stopped, 
Until  thy  rising  comes  in  the  morning, 
In  the  eastern  horizon  of  the  sky. 
Their  arms  are  uplifted  in  adoration  of  thee, 
Thou  makest  hearts  to  live  by  thy  beauty, 
And  men  live  when  thou  sendest  forth  thy  rays, 
Every  land  is  in  festivity: 
Singing,  music,  and  shoutings  of  joy 
Are  in  the  hall  of  the  Benben^house, 
Thy  temple  in  Akhet-Aton,  the  seat  of  Truth, 
Wherewith  thou  art  satisfied. 
Food  and  provision  are  offered  therein; 
Thy  pure  son  performs  thy  pleasing  ceremonies, 
O  living  Aton,  at  his  festal  processions. 
All  that  thou  hast  made  dances  before  thee, 
Thy  august  son  rejoices,  his  heart  is  joyous, 

lSee  above,  p.  71. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM        331 

O  living  Aton,  born  in  the  sky  every  day. 

He  begets  his  august  son  Wanre  (Ikhnaton) 

Like  himself  without  ceasing, 

Son  of  Re,  wearing  his  beauty, Nefer-khepru-Re,  Wanre  (Ikhnaton), 

Even  me,  thy  son,  in  whom  thou  art  satisfied, 

Who  bears  thy  name. 

Thy  strength  and  thy  might  abide  in  my  heart, 

Thou  art  Aton,  living  forever.  .  .  . 

Thou  hast  made  the  distant  sky  to  rise  therein, 

In  order  to  behold  all  that  thou  hast  made, 

While  thou  wast  alone. 

Millions  of  life  are  in  thee  to  make  them  live, 

It  is  the  breath  of  life  in  the  nostrils  to  behold  thy  rays.1 

All  flowers  live  and  what  grows  in  the  soil 

Is  made  to  grow  because  thou  dawnest. 

They  are  drunken  before  thee. 

All  cattle  skip  upon  their  feet; 

The  birds  in  the  marsh  fly  with  joy, 

Their  wings  that  were  folded  are  spread, 

Uplifted  in  adoration  to  the  living  Aton, 

The  maker  .  .  ." 2 

In  these  hymns  there  is  an  inspiring  universalism  not 
found  before  in  the  religion  of  Egypt.  It  is  world  wide 
in  its  sweep.  The  king  claims  that  the  recognition  of  the 
Sun-god's  universal  supremacy  is  also  universal,  and  that 
all  men  acknowledge  his  dominion.  On  the  great  boun- 
dary stela  likewise  he  says  of  them,  that  Aton  made  them 
"for  his  own  self;  all  lands,  the  iEgaeans  bear  their  dues, 
their  tribute  is  upon  their  backs,  for  him  who  made  their 
life,  him  by  whose  rays  men  live  and  breathe  the  air."  3 

1  Variant:  "Breath,  it  enters  the  nostrils  when  thou  showest  thy- 
self to  them." 

2  The  remainder  of  the  line  is  lost.  Only  one  of  the  five  texts 
which  exist  from  the  beginning  goes  as  far  as  this  point.  It  also 
stopped  at  this  place,  so  that  only  part  of  a  line  has  been  lost. 

3  Stela  K,  Davies,  Amarna,  V,  pi.  xxix,  1.  7. 


332     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

It  is  clear  that  he  was  projecting  a  world  religion,  and  en- 
deavoring to  displace  by  it  the  nationalism  which  had 
preceded  it  for  twenty  centuries. 

Along  with  this  universal  power,  Ikhnaton  is  also 
deeply  impressed  with  the  eternal  duration  of  his  god; 
and  although  he  himself  calmly  accepts  his  own  mortality 
and  early  in  his  career  at  Amarna  makes  public  and  per- 
manently records  on  the  boundary  stelse  instructions  for 
his  own  burial,  nevertheless  he  relies  upon  his  intimate  re- 
lation with  Aton  to  insure  him  something  of  the  Sun-god's 
duration.  His  official  titulary  always  contains  the  epithet 
after  his  name,  "whose  lifetime  (or  duration)  is  long." 

But  in  the  beginning  of  all,  Aton  called  himself  forth 
out  of  the  eternal  solitude,  the  author  of  his  own  being. 
The  king  calls  him  "My  rampart  of  a  million  cubits,  my 
reminder  of  eternity,  my  witness  of  the  things  of  eternity, 
who  himself  fashioned  himself  with  his  own  hands,  whom 
no  artificer  knew."  l  In  harmony  with  this  idea,  the 
hymns  love  to  reiterate  the  fact  that  the  creation  of  the 
world  which  followed  was  done  while  the  god  was  yet 
alone.  The  words  "while  thou  wert  alone"  are  almost 
a  refrain  in  these  hymns.  He  is  the  universal  creator 
who  brought  forth  all  the  races  of  man  and  distinguished 
them  in  speech  and  in  color  of  the  skin.  His  creative 
power  still  goes  on  calling  forth  life,  even  from  the  in- 
animate egg.  Nowhere  do  we  find  more  marked  the 
naive  wonder  of  the  king  at  the  Sun-god's  life-giving 
power  than  in  this  marvel,  that  within  the  egg-shell, 
which  the  king  calls  the  "stone"  of  the  egg — within  this 
lifeless  stone,  the  sounds  of  life  respond  to  the  command 
of  Aton,  and,  nourished  by  the  breath  which  he  s;ives,  a 
living  creature  issues  forth. 

1  Boundary  Stela  K,  ibid.,  V,-pl.  xxix,  1.  9. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM        333 

This  life-giving  power  is  the  constant  source  of  life  and 
sustenance,  and  its  immediate  agency  is  the  rays  of  the 
Sun.  It  is  in  these  rays  that  Aton  is  present  on  earth  as 
a  beneficent  power.  Thus  manifested,  the  hymns  love 
to  dwell  upon  his  ever-present  universal  power.  "Thou 
art  in  the  sky,  but  thy  rays  are  on  earth; "  "Though  thou 
art  far  away,  thy  rays  are  on  earth;"  "Thy  rays  are  in 
the  midst  of  the  great  green  sea;"  "Thy  rays  are  on  thy 
beloved  son;"  "He  who  makes  whole  the  eyes  by  his 
rays;"  "It  is  the  breath  of  life  in  the  nostrils  to  behold 
thy  rays;"  "Thy  child  (the  king),  who  came  forth  from 
thy  rays;"  "Thou  didst  fashion  him  (the  king)  out  of 
thine  own  rays;"  "Thy  rays  carry  a  million  royal  jubi- 
lees;" "When  thou  sendest  forth  thy  rays,  the  Two 
Lands  are  in  festivity;"  "Thy  rays  embrace  the  lands, 
even  all  that  thou  hast  made;"  l  "Whether  he  is  in  the  sky 
or  on  earth,  all  eyes  behold  him  without  [ceasing] ;  he  fills 
[every  land]  with  his  rays,  and  makes  all  men  to  live; 
with  beholding  whom  may  my  eyes  be  satisfied  daily, 
when  he  dawns  in  this  house  of  Aton  and  fills  it  with  his 
own  self  by  his  beams,  beauteous  in  love,  and  lays  them 
upon  me  in  satisfying  life  for  ever  and  ever."  2  In  these 
last  words  the  king  himself  expresses  his  own  conscious- 
ness of  the  god's  presence,  especially  in  the  temple,  by  his 
rays.  The  obvious  dependence  of  Egypt  upon  the  Nile 
made  it  impossible  to  ignore  this  agency  of  life,  and  there 
is  nothing  which  discloses  more  clearly  the  surprising 
rationalism  of  Ikhnaton  than  the  fact  that  he  strips  off 
without  hesitation  the  venerable  body  of  myth  and  tradi- 
tion which  deified  the  Nile  as  Osiris,  and  attributes  the 
inundation  to  natural  forces  controlled  by  his  god,  who 

1  See  my  De  hymnis  in  solem,  pp.  21-22. 

2  Boundary  Stela  K,  Davies,  Amarna,  V,  pi.  xxix,  11.  10-11. 


334    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

in  like  solicitude  for  other  lands  has  made  a  Nile  for  them 
in  the  sky. 

It  is  this  recognition  of  the  fatherly  solicitude  of  Aton 
for  all  creatures  which  lifts  the  movement  of  Ikhnaton 
far  above  all  that  had  before  been  attained  in  the 
religion  of  Egypt  or  of  the  whole  East  before  this  time. 
"  Thou  art  the  father  and  the  mother  of  all  that  thou  hast 
made"  is  a  thought  which  anticipates  much  of  the  later 
development  in  religion  even  down  to  our  own  time. 
The  picture  of  the  lily-grown  marshes,  where  the  flowers 
are  "drunken"  in  the  intoxicating  radiance  of  Aton, 
where  the  birds  unfold  their  wings  and  lift  them  "  in  adora- 
tion of  the  living  Aton,"  where  the  cattle  dance  with  de- 
light in  the  sunshine,  and  the  fish  in  the  river  beyond  leap 
up  to  greet  the  light,  the  universal  light  whose  beams  are 
even  "in  the  midst  of  the  great  green  sea" — all  this  dis- 
closes a  discernment  of  the  presence  of  God  in  nature,  and 
an  appreciation  of  the  revelation  of  God  in  the  visible 
world  such  as  we  find  a  thousand  years  later  in  the  Hebrew 
psalms,  and  in  our  own  poets  of  nature  since  Wordsworth. 

It  is  evident  that,  in  spite  of  the  political  origin  of  this 
movement,  the  deepest  sources  of  power  in  this  remark- 
able revolution  lay  in  this  appeal  to  nature,  in  this  ad- 
monition to  "consider  the  lilies  of  the  field."  Ikhnaton 
was  a  "God-intoxicated  man,"  whose  mind  responded 
with  marvellous  sensitiveness  and  discernment  to  the  visi- 
ble evidences  of  God  about  him.  He  was  fairly  ecstatic 
in  his  sense  of  the  beauty  of  the  eternal  and  universal 
light.  Its  beams  enfold  him  on  every  monument  of  his 
which  has  survived.  He  prays,  "May  my  eyes  be  satis- 
fied daily  with  beholding  him,  when  he  dawns  in  this 
house  of  Aton  and  fills  it  with  his  own  self  by  his  beams, 
beauteous  in  love,  and  lays  them  upon  me  in  satisfying 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       335 

life  for  ever  and  ever."  In  this  light— which  more  than 
once,  as  here,  he  identifies  with  love,  or  again  with  beauty, 
as  the  visible  evidence  of  the  presence  of  God — he  revels 
with  an  intoxication  rarely  to  be  found,  and  which  may 
be  properly  compared  to  the  ecstatic  joy  felt  by  such  a 
soul  as  Ruskin  in  the  contemplation  of  light.  Ruskin,  as 
he  sees  it  playing  over  some  lovely  landscape,  calls  it 
"the  breathing,  animated,  exulting  light,  which  feels  and 
receives  and  rejoices  and  acts — which  chooses  one  thing 
and  rejects  another — which  seeks  and  finds  and  loses 
again — leaping  from  rock  to  rock,  from  leaf  to  leaf,  from 
wave  to  wave,  glowing  or  flashing  or  scintillating  accord- 
ing to  what  it  strikes,  or  in  its  holier  moods  absorbing  and 
enfolding  all  things  in  the  deep  fulness  of  its  repose,  and 
then  again  losing  itself  in  bewilderment  and  doubt  and 
dimness,  or  perishing  and  passing  away,  entangled  in 
drifting  mist,  or  melted  into  melancholy  air,  but  still — 
kindling  or  declining,  sparkling  or  still — it  is  the  living 
light,  which  breathes  in  its  deepest,  most  entranced  rest, 
which  sleeps  but  never  dies." *  That  is  the  loftiest 
modern  interpretation  of  light,  a  veritable  gospel  of  the 
beauty  of  light,  of  which  the  earliest  disciple  was  this 
lonely  idealist  of  the  fourteenth  century  before  Christ. 
To  Ikhnaton,  too,  the  eternal  light  might  sleep,  when  he 
that  made  the  world  has  "gone  to  rest  in  his  horizon," 
but  to  him  also  as  with  Ruskin  it  "sleeps  but  never  dies." 
In  this  aspect  of  Ikhnaton's  movement,  then,  it  is  a 
gospel  of  the  beauty  and  beneficence  of  the  natural  order, 
a  recognition  of  the  message  of  nature  to  the  soul  of  man, 
which  makes  it  the  earliest  of  those  revivals  which  we  call 
in  the  case  of  such  artists  as  Millet  and  the  Barbizon 
school,  or  of  Wordsworth  and  his  successors,  "a  return  to 
1  Ruskin,  Modern  Painters,  vol.  I,  p.  250. 


336    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

nature."  As  the  earliest  of  such  movements  known  to 
us,  however,  we  cannot  call  it  a  "return."  We  should 
not  forget  also  that  this  intellectual  attitude  of  the  king 
was  not  confined  to  religion.  The  breath  of  nature  had 
also  touched  life  and  art  at  the  same  time,  and  quickened 
them  with  a  new  vision  as  broad  and  untrammelled  as  that 
which  is  unfolded  in  the  hymns.  The  king's  charmingly 
natural  and  unrestrained  relations  with  his  family,  de- 
picted on  public  monuments  without  reserve,  is  another 
example  of  his  powerful  individuality  and  his  readiness  to 
throw  off  the  shackles  of  tradition  without  hesitation  in 
the  endeavor  to  establish  a  world  of  things  as  they  are, 
in  wholesome  naturalness.  The  artists  of  the  time,  one 
of  them  indeed,  as  he  says,  under  the  king's  own  instruc- 
tions, put  forth  works  dominated  by  the  same  spirit. 
Especially  do  they  reflect  to  us  that  joy  in  nature  which 
breathes  in  the  religion  of  Ikhnaton.  We  have  come  to 
speak  habitually  of  an  Amarna  age,  in  religion,  in  life,  in 
art,  and  this  fact  of  itself  is  conclusive  evidence  of  the 
distinctive  intellectual  attitude  of  Ikhnaton. 

It  is  remarkable  that  the  hymns  as  an  expression  of 
religious  aspiration  contain  so  little  reference  to  character 
and  to  ethical  matters.  We  have  seen  that  the  Solar  the- 
ology was  closely  identified  from  the  beginning  with  the 
development  of  the  moral  consciousness  in  Egypt.  Recog- 
nizing as  it  does  more  clearly  than  ever  was  done  before 
the  beneficent  goodness  of  the  Sun-god's  sway,  it  is  in- 
conceivable that  the  Amarna  movement  should  have  re- 
jected the  highly  developed  ethics  of  Heliopolis.  Its 
close  connection  with  the  Heliopolitan  theology  is  evident 
throughout.  The  identification  of  the  royal  line  with 
that  of  the  Sun-god  by  the  Heliopolitan  priests  in  the 
Pyramid  Age  had  resulted,  as  we  have  seen,  in  transferring 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM        337 

to  Re  the  humane  qualities  of  beneficent  dominion  with 
which  the  Pharaohs  of  the  Feudal  Age  were  imbued. 
The  Pharaoh  was  the  "good  shepherd"  or  "good  herd- 
man,"  and  this  figure  of  the  paternal  and  protecting 
sovereign  had  been  transferred  to  Re.  Re  had  thus 
gained  wondrously  in  qualities  of  humane  and  paternal 
sympathy,  as  a  result  of  this  development  in  the  concep- 
tion of  the  kingship  in  the  Feudal  Age.  The  social  forces 
which  had  contributed  this  high  ideal  of  kingship  were 
thus  the  ultimate  influences,  which,  through  the  kingship, 
enriched  and  humanized  the  otherwise  rather  mechanical 
and  perfunctory  political  conception  of  Re's  dominion. 
The  human  appeal  which  he  now  made  was  thus  akin  to 
that  of  Osiris  himself.  This  tendency  of  the  Solar  faith 
was  entirely  in  sympathy  with  the  teaching  of  Ikhnaton. 
Under  his  father  we  have  found  a  Sun-hymn  calling  the 
Sun-god  "the  valiant  herdman  driving  his  herds,"  a  hint 
clearly  connecting  the  Aton  faith  with  the  social  and 
moral  movement  of  the  Feudal  Age,  which  we  have  just 
recalled.  Nevertheless  it  is  evident  that  it  was  the  benefi- 
cence and  beauty  rather  than  the  righteousness  of  the 
Sun-god,  on  which  Ikhnaton  loved  to  dwell,  in  the  hymns 
to  his  god.  Outside  of  the  hymns,  however,  there  is  a 
marked  prominence  of  the  ancient  word  "truth,"  or,  as 
we  have  observed  so  often,  "justice"  or  "righteousness." 
To  the  official  name  of  the  king,  there  is  regularly  appended 
the  epithet,  "living  in  truth,"  x  and  although  it  is  difficult 

1  It  is  difficult  to  define  the  exact  meaning  of  this  phrase.  The 
Sun-god  was  the  father  of  the  goddess  who  personified  Truth,  and 
his  close  connection  with  truth  is  evident  throughout.  In  the  sixty- 
fifth  chapter  of  the  Book  of  the  Dead,  he  lives  "in  truth"  or  "on 
truth,"  using  the  same  words  applied  to  Ikhnaton.  But  the  passage 
exhibits  a  very  materialistic  conception  of  truth,  for  the  Sun-god 
lives  " on  truth"  as  the  Nile  lives  "on  fish."     (See  Grapow,  Zeitschr. 


338    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

to  interpret  the  phrase  exactly,  it  is  evident  that  the  con- 
ception of  Truth  and  Right,  personified  as  a  goddess,  the 
daughter  of  the  Sun-god  at  a  remote  age,  occupied  a 
prominent  place  in  the  Aton  movement,  and  not  least  in 
the  personal  faith  of  the  king.  The  new  capital  was 
called  the  "seat  of  truth"  in  the  short  hymn,  and  we  fre- 
quently find  the  men  of  Ikhnaton's  court  glorifying  truth. 
One  of  his  leading  partisans,  Eye,  says:  "He  (the  king) 
put  truth  in  my  body  and  my  abomination  is  lying.  I 
know  that  Wanre  (Ikhnaton)  rejoices  in  it  (truth)."1 
The  same  man  affirms  that  the  Sun-god  is  one  "  (whose) 
heart  is  satisfied  with  truth,  whose  abomination  is  false- 
hood." 2  Another  official  states  in  his  Amarna  tomb:  "I 
will  speak  truth  to  his  majesty,  (for)  I  know  that  he  lives 
therein.  ...  I  do  not  that  which  his  majesty  hates,  (for) 
my  abomination  is  lying  in  my  body.  ...  I  have  reported 
truth  to  his  majesty,  (for)  I  know  that  he  lives  therein. 
Thou  art  Re,  begetter  of  truth.  .  .  .  I  took  not  the  reward 
of  lying,  nor  expelled  the  truth  for  the  violent."  3  Re  was 
still  the  author  of  truth  or  righteousness  at  Amarna  as 
before,  and  if  we  hear  of  no  judgment  hereafter  in  the 
Amarna  tombs,  it  was  clearly  only  the  rejection  of  the 
cloud  of  gods  and  demi-gods,  with  Osiris  at  their  head, 
who  had  been  involved  in  the  judgment  as  we  find  it  in 
the  Book  of  the  Dead.  These  were  now  banished,  and 
the  dramatic  scene  of  the  judgment  seems  to  have  dis- 
appeared with  them,  although  it  is  clear  that  the  ethical 
requirements  of  the  Solar  faith,  the  faith  in  which  they 
emerged  and  developed,  were  not  relaxed  in  Ikhnaton's 

fiir  aegypt.  Sprache,  49,  51.)     The  chapter  is  a  magical  charm  to 
force  the  Sun-god  to  justify  the  deceased.     It  was  doubtless  such 
materialistic  notions  of  ethical  concepts  which  led  the  priests  to 
employ  magic  in  the  realm  of  ethics  and  ethical  values. 
i  BAR,  II,  993,  1002.  2  BAR,  II,  994.  3  BAR,  II,  1013. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       339 

teaching.  The  sacerdotal  invasion  of  the  moral  realm 
with  mechanical  magical  agencies  for  insuring  justifica- 
tion was  also  evidently  repelled  by  Ikhnaton.  The  famil- 
iar heart  scarab  now  no  longer  bears  a  charm  to  still  the 
accusing  voice  of  conscience,  but  a  simple  prayer,  in  the 
name  of  Aton,  for  long  life,  favor,  and  food.1 

Such  fundamental  changes  as  these,  on  a  moment's 
reflection,  suggest  what  an  overwhelming  tide  of  inherited 
thought,  custom,  and  tradition  had  been  diverted  from 
its  channel  by  the  young  king  who  was  guiding  this  revolu- 
tion. It  is  only  as  this  aspect  of  his  movement  is  clearly 
discerned  that  we  begin  to  appreciate  the  power  of  his 
remarkable  personality.  Before  his  time  religious  docu- 
ments were  usually  attributed  to  ancient  kings  and  wise 
men,  and  the  power  of  a  belief  lay  chiefly  in  its  claim  to 
remote  antiquity  and  the  sanctity  of  immemorial  custom. 
Even  the  social  prophets  of  the  Feudal  Age  attribute  the 
maxims  of  Ptahhotep  to  a  vizier  of  the  Old  Kingdom, 
five  or  six  centuries  earlier.  Until  Ikhnaton  the  history 
of  the  world  had  been  but  the  irresistible  drift  of  tradition. 
All  men  had  been  but  drops  of  water  in  the  great  current. 
Ikhnaton  was  the  first  individual  in  history.  Consciously 
and  deliberately,  by  intellectual  process  he  gained  his  posi- 
tion, and  then  placed  himself  squarely  in  the  face  of  tradi- 
tion and  swept  it  aside.  He  appeals  to  no  myths,  to  no 
ancient  and  widely  accepted  versions  of  the  dominion  of 
the  gods,  to  no  customs  sanctified  by  centuries — he  ap- 
peals only  to  the  present  and  visible  evidences  of  his 
god's  dominion,  evidences  open  to  all,  and  as  for  tradition, 
wherever  it  had  left  material  manifestations  of  any  sort 
in  records  which  could  be  reached,  he  endeavored  to  an- 

JSee  Schaefer,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  48,  45/.,  and  Pro- 
ceedings of  the  Soc.  of  Biblical  Arch.,  XVII,  155,  No.  3. 


340    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

nihilate  it.  The  new  faith  has  but  one  name  at  Amarna. 
It  is  frequently  called  the  "teaching,"  and  this  "teaching" 
is  attributed  solely  to  the  king.  There  is  no  reason  to 
question  this  attribution.  But  we  should  realize  what 
this  "teaching"  meant  in  the  life  of  the  Egyptian  people 
as  a  whole. 

Here  had  been  a  great  people,  the  onward  flow  of  whose 
life,  in  spite  of  its  almost  irresistible  momentum,  had  been 
suddenly  arrested  and  then  diverted  into  a  strange 
channel.  Their  holy  places  had  been  desecrated,  the 
shrines  sacred  with  the  memories  of  thousands  of  years 
had  been  closed  up,  the  priests  driven  away,  the  offerings 
and  temple  incomes  confiscated,  and  the  old  order  blotted 
out.  Everywhere  whole  communities,  moved  by  in- 
stincts flowing  from  untold  centuries  of  habit  and  custom, 
returned  to  their  holy  places  to  find  them  no  more,  and 
stood  dumfounded  before  the  closed  doors  of  the  ancient 
sanctuaries.  On  feast  days,  sanctified  by  memories  of 
earliest  childhood,  venerable  halls  that  had  resounded 
with  the  rejoicings  of  the  multitudes,  as  we  have  recalled 
them  at  Siut,  now  stood  silent  and  empty;  and  every  day 
as  the  funeral  processions  wound  across  the  desert  margin 
and  up  the  plateau  to  the  cemetery,  the  great  comforter 
and  friend,  Osiris,  the  champion  of  the  dead  in  every 
danger,  was  banished,  and  no  man  dared  so  much  as  utter 
his  name.1  Even  in  their  oaths,  absorbed  from  childhood 
with  their  mothers'  milk,  the  involuntary  names  must  not 

1  In  mortuary  doctrines  this  Amarna  movement  was  unable 
wholly  to  eradicate  the  old  customs.  The  heart  scarab  is  mentioned 
above;  "ushcbti"  statuettes  were  also  known.  There  is  one  in 
Zurich,  see  Wiedemann,  Proceed,  of  the  Soc.  of  Bib.  Arch.,  VII, 
200-3;  also  one  in  Cairo,  see  Maspero,  Musee  egyptien,  III, 
pi.  xxiii,  pp.  27-28.  They  contain  prayers  for  sustenance  at  the 
tomb,  in  the  name  of  Aton.     Osiris  is  not  named. 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       341 

be  suffered  to  escape  the  lips;  and  in  the  presence  of  the 
magistrate  at  court  the  ancient  oath*  must  now  contain 
only  the  name  of  Aton.  All  this  to  them  was  as  if  the 
modern  man  were  asked  to  worship  X  and  swear  by  Y. 
Groups  of  muttering  priests,  nursing  implacable  hatred, 
must  have  mingled  their  curses  with  the  execration  of 
whole  communities  of  discontented  tradesmen — bakers 
who  no  longer  drew  a  livelihood  from  the  sale  of  cere- 
monial cakes  at  the  temple  feasts;  craftsmen  who  no  longer 
sold  amulets  of  the  old  gods  at  the  temple  gateway;  hack 
sculptors  whose  statues  of  Osiris  lay  under  piles  of  dust 
in  many  a  tumble-down  studio;  cemetery  stone-cutters 
who  found  their  tawdry  tombstones  with  scenes  from  the 
Book  of  the  Dead  banished  from  the  cemetery;  scribes 
whose  rolls  of  the  same  book,  filled  with  the  names  of 
the  old  gods,  or  even  if  they  bore  the  word  god  in  the 
plural,  were  anathema;  actors  and  priestly  mimes  who 
were  driven  away  from  the  sacred  groves  by  gendarmes 
on  the  days  when  they  should  have  presented  to  the 
people  the  "passion  play,"  and  murmuring  groups  of 
pilgrims  at  Abydos  who  would  have  taken  part  in  this 
drama  of  the  life  and  death  and  resurrection  of  Osiris; 
physicians  deprived  of  their  whole  stock  in  trade  of  exor- 
cising ceremonies,  employed  with  success  since  the  days 
of  the  earliest  kings,  two  thousand  years  before;  shep- 
herds who  no  longer  dared  to  place  a  loaf  and  a  jar  of 
water  under  yonder  tree  and  thus  to  escape  the  anger  of 
the  goddess  who  dwelt  in  it,  and  who  might  afflict  the 
household  with  sickness  in  her  wrath;  peasants  who 
feared  to  erect  a  rude  image  of  Osiris  in  the  field  to  drive 
away  the  typhonic  demons  of  drought  and  famine; 
mothers  soothing  their  babes  at  twilight  and  fearing  to 
utter  the  old  sacred  names  and  prayers  learned  in  child- 


342     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

hood,  to  drive  away  from  their  little  ones  the  lurking 
demons  of  the  dark.  In  the  midst  of  a  whole  land  thus 
darkened  by  clouds  of  smouldering  discontent,  this  mar- 
vellous young  king,  and  the  group  of  sympathizers  who 
surrounded  him,  set  up  their  tabernacle  to  the  daily  light, 
in  serene  unconsciousness  of  the  fatal  darkness  that  en- 
veloped all  around  and  grew  daily  darker  and  more 
threatening. 

In  placing  the  movement  of  Ikhnaton  against  a  back- 
ground of  popular  discontent  like  this,  and  adding  to  the 
picture  also  the  far  more  immediately  dangerous  secret 
opposition  of  the  ancient  priesthoods,  the  still  uncon- 
quered  party  of  Amon,  and  the  powerful  military  group, 
who  were  disaffected  by  the  king's  peace  policy  in  Asia 
and  his  lack  of  interest  in  imperial  administration  and 
maintenance,  we  begin  to  discern  something  of  the  power- 
ful individuality  of  this  first  intellectual  leader  in  history. 
His  reign  was  the  earliest  age  of  the  rule  of  ideas,  irre- 
spective of  the  condition  and  willingness  of  the  people 
upon  whom  they  were  to  be  forced.  As  Matthew  Arnold 
has  so  well  said,  in  commenting  on  the  French  Revolu- 
tion: "But  the  mania  for  giving  an  immediate  political 
application  to  all  these  fine  ideas  of  the  reason  was  fatal. 
.  .  .  Ideas  cannot  be  too  much  prized  in  and  for  them- 
selves, cannot  be  too  much  lived  with;  but  to  transfer 
them  abruptly  into  the  world  of  politics  and  practice, 
violently  to  revolutionize  the  world  at  their  bidding — 
that  is  quite  another  thing."  But  Ikhnaton  had  no 
French  Revolution  to  look  back  upon.  He  was  himself 
the  world's  first  revolutionist,  and  he  was  fully  convinced 
that  he  might  entirely  recast  the  world  of  religion,  thought, 
art,  and  life  by  the  invincible  purpose  he  held,  to  make 
his  ideas  at  once  practically  effective.     And  so  the  fair 


THE  IMPERIAL  AGE  AND  MONOTHEISM       343 

city  of  the  Amarna  plain  arose,  a  fatuous  island  of  the  blest 
in  a  sea  of  discontent,  a  vision  of  fond  hopes,  born  in  a 
mind  fatally  forgetful  that  the  past  cannot  be  annihilated. 
The  marvel  is  that  such  a  man  should  have  first  arisen  in 
the  East,  and  especially  in  Egypt,  where  no  man  except 
Ikhnaton  possessed  the  ability  to  forget.  Nor  was  the 
great  Mediterranean  world  which  Egypt  now  dominated 
any  better  prepared  for  an  international  religion  than  its 
Egyptian  lords.  The  imperial  imagination  of  Ikhnaton  re- 
minds one  of  that  of  Alexander  the  Great,  a  thousand  years 
later,  but  it  was  many  centuries  in  advance  of  his  age. 

We  cannot  wonder  that  when  the  storm  broke  it  swept 
away  almost  all  traces  of  this  earliest  idealist.  All  that 
we  have  to  tell  us  of  him  is  the  wreck  of  his  city,  a  lonely 
outpost  of  idealism,  not  to  be  overtaken  and  passed  till 
six  centuries  later  those  Bedouin  hordes  who  were  now 
drifting  into  Ikhnaton's  Palestinian  provinces  had  coa- 
lesced into  a  nation  of  social,  moral,  and  religious  aspira- 
tions, and  had  thus  brought  forth  the  Hebrew  prophets. 


LECTURE  X 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY— SACERDOTALISM  AND 
FINAL  DECADENCE 

The  fall  of  Ikhnaton  is  shrouded  in  complete  obscurity. 
The  ultimate  result  was  the  restoration  of  Amon  by 
Tutenkhamon,  one  of  Ikhnaton's  feeble  successors.  The 
old  regime  returned.  Tutenkhamon's  account  of  his  res- 
toration of  the  gods  is  an  interesting  revelation  of  the 
religious  and  intellectual  attitude  of  the  leading  men  of 
affairs  when  Ikhnaton  had  passed  away.  The  new  king 
refers  to  himself  as  "the  good  ruler,  who  did  excellent 
things  for  the  father  of  all  gods  (Amon),  who  restored  for 
him  that  which  was  in  ruin  as  everlasting  monuments; 
cast  out  for  him  sin  in  the  Two  Lands  (Egypt),  so  that 
righteousness  endured  .  .  .;  and  made  lying  to  be  the 
abomination  of  the  land,  as  in  the  beginning.  For  when 
his  majesty  was  crowned  as  king,  the  temples  of  the  gods 
and  goddesses  were  [desolat]ed  from  Elephantine  as  far  as 
the  marshes  of  the  Delta  l  .  .  .  (hammered  out).  Their 
holy  places  were  ^forsaken1  and  had  become  overgrown 
tracts,  .  .  .  their  sanctuaries  were  like  that  which  has 
never  been,  and  their  houses  were  trodden  roads.  The 
land  was  in  an  evil  pass,  and  as  for  the  gods,  they  had  for- 
saken this  land.     If  people  were  sent  to  Syria  to  extend 

1  "Marshes  of  the  Delta"  (h'wt  ydhw)  is  not  in  the  published  edi- 
tion of  the  text,  but  close  study  of  a  large-scale  photograph  shows 
that  it  is  still  discernible,  though  with  great  difficulty,  on  the  stone. 

344 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  345 

the  borders  of  Egypt,  they  prospered  not  at  all;  if  men 
prayed  to  a  god  for  succor,  he  came  not;  ...  if  men  be- 
sought a  goddess  likewise,  she  came  not  at  all.  Their 
hearts  were  ^deaf  in  their  bodies,  and  they  diminished 
what  was  done.  Now,  after  days  had  passed  by  these 
things,  [his  majesty]  appeared  upon  the  throne  of  his 
father,  he  ruled  the  regions  of  Horus.  .  .  .  His  majesty 
was  making  the  plans  of  this  land  and  the  needs  of  the 
two  regions  were  before  his  majesty,  as  he  took  counsel 
with  his  own  heart,  seeking  every  excellent  matter  and 
searching  for  profitable  things  for  his  father  Amon, 
fashioning  his  august  emanation  of  pure  gold,  and  giving 
to  him  more  than  was  done  before."  1 

Thus  was  the  memory  of  the  great  idealist  execrated. 
When  in  a  state  document  it  was  necessary  to  refer  to 
him,  he  was  called  "the  criminal  of  Akhetaton."  The  re- 
established priesthood  of  Amon  rejoiced  in  the  restoration 
of  their  power,  especially  when  the  ephemeral  successors 
of  Ikhnaton  were  followed  by  the  able  rule  of  Harmhab, 
a  military  leader  who  had  contrived  gradually  to  secure 
control  of  the  situation.  A  hymn  to  Amon  from  this 
period  reveals  the  exultant  triumph  of  his  devotees  as 
they  sing  to  him: 

"Thou  findest  him  who  transgresses  against  thee; 
Woe  to  him  who  assails  thee! 
Thy  city  endures; 

1  These  new  and  interesting  facts  are  drawn  from  a  large  stela  of 
Tutenkhamon  found  by  Legrain  in  the  Karnak  temple  in  1905, 
and  published  by  him  in  Recueil  de  trav.,  XXIX,  162-173.  I  am 
indebted  to  M.  Legrain  for  kind  permission  to  make  a  series  of 
large-scale  photographs  of  the  monument,  on  which  it  is  possible  to 
read  the  important  northern  limits  of  the  persecution  of  the  gods  by 
Ikhnaton,  not  before  noted.  The  stela  was  usurped  by  Harmhab, 
who  inserted  his  name  over  that  of  Ikhnatonrrv 


346    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

But  he  who  assails  thee  falls. 

Fie  upon  him  who  transgresses  against  thee  in  every  land. 

The  sun  of  him  who  knows  thee  not  goes  down,  O  Amon! 

But  as  for  him  who  knows  thee,  he  shines. 

The  forecourt  of  him  who  assailed  thee  is  in  darkness, 

But  the  whole  earth  is  in  light. 

Whosoever  puts  thee  in  his  heart,  O  Amon, 

Lo,  his  sun  dawns."  * 

This  very  hymn,  however,  betrays  its  connection  with 
the  old  Solar  faith  and  the  paternal  interpretation  of  Re, 
as  it  goes  on  to  the  praise  of  Amon  as  the  "  good  shepherd  " 
and  the  "  pilot,"  ideas  which,  we  recall,  arose  in  the  social 
movement  of  the  Feudal  Age.  Indeed,  notwithstanding 
the  restoration  of  Amon,  the  ideas  and  the  tendencies 
which  had  given  birth  to  the  revolution  of  Ikhnaton  were 
far  from  disappearing.  It  was  not  possible  to  carry  them 
on,  under  a  monotheistic  form,  involving  the  annihilation 
of  the  old  gods;  but  the  human  and  beneficent  aspects  of 
Aton,  in  his  care  for  all  men,  had  taken  hold  upon  the 
imagination  of  the  thinking  classes,  and  we  find  the  same 
qualities  now  attributed  to  Amon.     Men  sang  of  him: 

"Lord  of  truth,  father  of  gods, 
Maker  of  men  and  creator  of  animals, 
Lord  of  that  which  is, 
Creator  of  the  tree  of  life, 
Maker  of  herbs,  sustaining  the  cattle  alive/' a 

The  hymn  from  which  these  lines  are  quoted  does  not 
hesitate  to  call  the  god  thus  praised  Re  or  Atum,  showing 

1  Ostrakon  5656  a  in  the  British  Museum,  published  in  Birch, 
Inscriptions  in  the  Hieratic  Character,  pi.  xxvi.  The  historical  con- 
nection of  the  passages  cited  was  first  noted  in  a  brilliant  interpreta- 
tion by  Erman,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  42,  106  ff. 

2  Great  Hymn  to  Amon,  Cairo  Papyrus,  No.  17  (Mariette,  II, 
pis.  11-13). 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  347 

that  the  Aton  movement  had  left  the  traditional  prestige 
of  the  Heliopolitan  Re  unblemished.  Another  passage 
contains  evident  echoes  of  the  Aton  faith: 

"Hail  to  thee!  Re,  lord  of  Truth, 
Whose  sanctuary  is  hidden,  lord  of  gods, 
Khepri  in  the  midst  of  his  barque, 
Who  commanded  and  the  gods  became; 
Atum,  who  made  the  people, 
Who  determined  the  fashion  of  them, 
Maker  of  their  sustenance, 

Who  distinguished  one  color  (race)  from  another; 
Who  hears  the  prayer  of  him  who  is  in  captivity, 
Who  is  kindly  of  heart  when  one  calls  upon  him, 
Who  saves  the  timid  from  the  haughty, 
Who  separates  the  weak  from  the  'strong1, 
Lord  of  Knowledge,  '"in1  whose  mouth  is  Taste; 
For  love  of  whom  the  Nile  comes, 
Lord  of  sweetness,  great  in  love, 
At  whose  coming  the  people  live." 

Even  the  old  monotheistic  phrases  have  here  and  there 
survived,  and  this  hymn  employs  them  without  compunc- 
tion, though  constantly  referring  to  the  gods.     It  says: 

"Sole  likeness1,  maker  of  what  is, 
Sole  and  only  one,  maker  of  what  exists. 
From  whose  eyes  men  issued, 
From  whose  mouth  the  gods  came  forth, 
Maker  of  herbs  for  the  cattle, 
And  the  tree  of  life  for  mankind, 
Who  maketh  the  sustenance  of  the  fish  [in]  the  stream, 
And  the  birds  that  traverse1  the  sky, 
Who  giveth  breath  to  that  which  is  in  the  egg, 
And  maketh  to  live  the  son  of  the  worm, 
Who  maketh  that  on  which  the  gnats  live, 
The  worms  and  the  insects  likewise, 
Who  supplieth  the  needs  of  the  mice  in  their  holes, 
Who  sustaineth  alive  the  ^irds1  in  every  tree. 


348    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Hail  to  thee,  who  hast  made  all  these, 

Thou  sole  and  only  one,  with  many  arms, 

Thou  sleeper  waking  while  all  men  sleep, 

Seeking  good  things  for  his  cattle. 

Amon,  enduring  in  all  things, 

Atum-Harakhte, 

Praise  to  thee  in  all  that  they  say, 

Jubilation  to  thee,  for  rthy  tarrying  with  us1, 

Obeisance  to  thee,  who  didst  create  us, 

'Hail  to  thee,'  say  all  cattle; 

'Jubilation  to  thee,'  says  every  country, 

To  the  height  of  heaven,  to  the  breadth  of  earth, 

To  the  depths  of  the  sea." 

A  hymn  to  Osiris  of  the  same  age  says  to  him:  "Thou 
art  the  father  and  the  mother  of  men,  they  live  from  thy 
breath."  1  There  is  a  spirit  of  humane  solicitude  in  all 
this,  which,  as  we  have  seen,  appeared  as  early  as  the 
social  teaching  of  the  Feudal  Age.  Especially  the  pref- 
erence for  the  "timid"  as  over  against  the  "haughty" 
and  overbearing,  and  the  discerning  "taste"  and  "knowl- 
edge," which  are  the  royal  and  divine  prerogatives,  we 
have  already  discovered  in  social  tractates  like  Ipuwer, 
and  even  in  a  state  document  like  the  Installation  of  the 
Vizier  in  the  Twelfth  Dynasty.  That  God  is  the  father 
and  mother  of  his  creatures  was,  of  course,  a  doctrine  of 
the  Aton  faith.  Such  hymns  also  still  preserve  the  uni- 
versalism,  the  disregard  for  national  lines,  which  was  so 
prominent  in  the  teaching  of  Ikhnaton.  As  we  look 
further  into  the  simpler  and  less  ecclesiastical  professions 
of  the  thirteenth  and  twelfth  centuries  before  Christ,  the 
two  centuries  after  Ikhnaton,  the  confidence  of  the  wor- 
shipper in  the  solicitude  of  the  Sun-god  for  all,  even  the 
least  of  his  creatures,  has  developed  into  a  devotional 

1  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  38,  31. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  349 

spirit,  and  a  consciousness  of  personal  relation  with  the 
god,  which  was  already  discernible  in  Ikhnaton's  declara- 
tion to  his  god:  "Thou  art  in  my  heart."  The  surviving 
influence  of  the  Aton  faith  and  the  doctrines  of  social  jus- 
tice of  the  Feudal  Age  now  culminated,  therefore,  in  the 
profoundest  expression  or  revelation  of  the  devotional  re- 
ligious spirit  ever  attained  by  the  men  of  Egypt.  Further- 
more, although  rooted  in  the  teaching  of  an  exclusive  few 
heretofore,  these  beliefs  in  an  intimate  and  personal  rela- 
tion between  the  worshipper  and  his  god  had  now,  with 
the  lapse  of  centuries  and  by  slow  and  gradual  process, 
become  widespread  among  the  people.  An  age  of  personal 
piety  and  inner  aspiration  to  God  now  dawned  among  the 
masses.  It  is  a  notable  development  and,  like  so  many 
of  the  movements  which  we  have  followed  in  these  lect- 
ures, the  earliest  of  its  kind  as  yet  discernible  in  the 
history  of  the  East,  or  for  that  matter  in  the  history  of 
man.  We  are  able  to  follow  it  only  at  Thebes,  and  it  is 
not  a  little  interesting  to  be  able  to  look  into  the  souls  of 
the  common  folk  who  thronged  the  streets  and  markets, 
who  tilled  the  fields  and  maintained  the  industries,  who 
kept  the  accounts  and  carried  on  the  official  records,  the 
hewers  of  wood  and  the  drawers  of  water,  the  men  and 
women  upon  whose  shoulders  rested  the  great  burden  of 
material  life  in  the  vast  capital  of  the  Egyptian  Empire 
during  the  twelfth  and  thirteenth  centuries  before  Christ. 
A  scribe  in  one  of  the  treasury  magazines  of  the  Theban 
necropolis  prays  to  Amon,  as  to  him 

"Who  cometh  to  the  silent, 
Who  saveth  the  poor, 
Who  giveth  breath  to  every  one  he  loveth, 


Give  to  me  [thy]  hand, 


350    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Save  me, 

Shine  upon  me, 

For  thou  makest  my  sustenance. 

Thou  art  the  sole  god,  there  is  no  other, 

Even  Re,  who  dawneth  in  the  sky, 

Atum  maker  of  men, 

Who  heareth  the  prayers  of  him  who  calls  to  him, 

Who  saveth  a  man  from  the  haughty, 

Who  bringeth  the  Nile  for  him  who  is  among  them, 

Who  leadeth  —  for  all  men, 

When  he  riseth,  the  people  live, 

Their  hearts  live  when  they  see  him 

Who  giveth  breath  to  him  who  is  the  egg, 

Who  maketh  the  people  and  the  birds  to  live, 

Who  supplieth  the  needs  of  the  mice  in  their  holes, 

The  worms  and  the  insects  likewise."  1 

To  a  god,  the  least  of  whose  creatures  are  the  object  of 
his  care,  these  men  of  Thebes  might  bring  their  misfortunes 
and  their  daily  cares,  confident  in  his  kindness  and  be- 
neficence. A  painter  of  tomb  scenes  in  the  necropolis 
erected  a  stela  in  one  of  the  necropolis  sanctuaries,  telling 
how  Amon,  in  gracious  mercy,  had  saved  his  son  from 
sickness.2  Amon  is  to  him  the  "august  god,  who  heareth 
petitions,  who  cometh  at  the  cry  of  the  afflicted  poor,  and 
giveth  breath  to  him  who  is  bowed  down,"  and  the  story 
of  Amon's  goodness  he  tells  thus: 

"Praise  to  Amon! 
I  make  hymns  in  his  name, 
I  give  to  him  praise, 
To  the  height  of  heaven, 

1  Berlin  Statuette,  No.  6910. 

2  Berlin,  No.  23077,  published  by  Erman,  Sitzungsber.  der  KgJ. 
Preuss.  Akad.,  1911,  XLIX,  pp.  1087  ff.  Erman  first  called  atten- 
tion to  the  character  of  this  group  of  necropolis  votive  stelse  in  an 
essay,  Denksteine  aus  dem  thebanischen  Grdberstadt,  ibid.,  pp.  1086  .If. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  351 

And  iie  breadth  of  earth; 

I  tell  of  his  prowess 

To  him  who  sails  down-stream, 

And  to  him  who  sails  up-stream. 

"Beware  of  him! 
Repeat  it  to  son  and  daughter, 
To  great  and  small, 
Tell  it  to  generation  after  generation, 
Who  are  not  yet  born. 
Tell  it  to  the  fishes  in  the  stream, 
To  the  birds  in  the  sky, 
Repeat  it  to  him  who  knoweth  it  not 
And  to  him  who  knoweth  it. 
Beware  of  him. 

"Thou,  O  Amon,  art  the  lord  of  the  silent, 
Who  cometh  at  the  cry  of  the  poor. 
When  I  cry  to  thee  in  my  affliction, 
Then  thou  comest  and  savest  me. 

That  thou  mayest  give  breath  to  him  who  is  bowed  down, 
And  mayest  save  me  lying  in  bondage.1 
Thou,  Amon-Re,  Lord  of  Thebes,  art  he, 
Who  saveth  him  that  is  in  the  Nether  World, 

When  men  cry  unto  thee, 

Thou  art  he  that  cometh  from  afar." 

"Nebre,  painter  of  Amon  in  the  necropolis,  son  of  Pai, 
painter  of  Amon  in  the  necropolis,  made  this  in  the  name 
of  his  lord,  Amon,  Lord  of  Thebes,  who  cometh  at  the 
cry  of  the  poor;  making  for  him  praises  in  his  name,  be- 
cause of  the  greatness  of  his  might,  and  making  for  him 
prayers  before  him  and  before  the  whole  land,  on  behalf 
of  the  painter  Nakht-Amon,2  when  he  lay  sick  unto  death, 
being  rin^  the  power  of  Amon,  because  of  his  sin." 

1  So  Erman.  2  The  son  of  Neb-Re,  whose  life  Amon  saves. 


352     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

"  I  found  that  the  lord  of  gods  came  as  the  north  wind, 
while  fragrant  air  was  before  him,  that  he  might  save  the 
painter  Nakht-Amon,  son  of  the  painter  of  Amon  in  the 
necropolis,  Nebre,  born  of  the  housewife,  Peshed." 

"He  saith,  'Though  the  servant  be  wont  to  commit 
sin,  yet  is  the  lord  wont  to  be  gracious.  The  lord  of 
Thebes  spends  not  the  whole  day  wroth.  If  he  be  wroth 
for  the  space  of  a  moment,  it  remaineth  not  .  .  .  turns 
to  us  in  graciousness,  Amon  turns  'with1  his  breath."'  l 

"By  thy  ka,  thou  wilt  be  gracious,  and  that  which  is 
turned  away  will  not  be  repeated.'' 

"He  saith,  'I  will  make  this  stela  in  thy  name,  and  I 
will  record  this  hymn  in  writing  upon  it,  if  thou  wilt  save 
for  me  the  painter  Nakht-Amon.'  Thus  I  spake  to  thee, 
and  thou  hearkenedst  to  me.  Now  behold  I  do  that 
which  I  said.  Thou  art  the  lord  of  the  one  who  calls  upon 
him,  who  is  satisfied  with  righteousness,  the  lord  of 
Thebes." 

"Made  by  the  painter,  Nebre  and  [his]  son  Khai." 

Similarly  in  a  year  of  unseasonable  weather  and  result- 
ing distress  a  man  prays:  "Come  to  me,  O  Amon,  save 
me  in  this  year  of  distress.  As  for  the  sun,  when  it  hap- 
pens that  he  shines  not,  then  winter  comes  in  summer- 
time, the  months  are  'retarded1  and  the  days  are  belated. 
The  great  cry  out  to  thee,  O  Amon,  and  the  small  seek 
after  thee.  Those  who  are  in  the  arms  of  their  nurses  say, 
'  Give  us  breath,  0  Amon.'  Then  is  Amon  found  coming 
in  peace  with  the  sweet  air  before  him.  He  transforms 
me  into  a  vulture-wing,  like  a  barque  manned,  'saying1, 
'Strength  to  the  shepherds  in  the  field,  the  washers  on 
the  dike,  the  'guards1  who  come  forth  from  the  district, 
the  gazelles  in  the  desert." 

1  So  Erman. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  353 

"Thou  findest  that  Amon  doeth  according  to  thy  desire, 
in  his  hour  of  peace,  and  thou  art  praised  in  the  midst  of 
the  officials  and  established  in  the  place  of  truth.  Amon- 
Re,  thy  great  Nile  ascendeth  the  mountains,  thou  lord  of 
fish,  rich  in  birds;  and  all  the  poor  are  satiated."  1 

The  Sun-god,  or  his  supplanter,  Amon,  has  thus  be- 
come the  champion  of  the  distressed,  "Who  heareth  the 
petition,  who  heareth  the  prayers  of  him  who  crieth  out 
to  him,  who  cometh  at  the  voice  of  him  who  mentions 
his  name,"2  "the  loving  god  who  heareth  prayers,  [who 
giveth  the  hand]  to  the  poor,  who  saveth  the  weary."  3 
So  the  injured  mother,  neglected  by  her  son,  "raises  her 
arms  to  the  god,  and  he  hears  her  cry." 4  The  social  jus- 
tice which  arose  in  the  Middle  Kingdom  is  now  a  claim 
which  every  poor  man  pleads  before  the  god,  who  has  him- 
self become  a  "  just  judge,  not  accepting  a  bribe,  uplifting 
the  insignificant,  [protecting]  the  poor,  not  extending  thy 
hand  to  the  rich."5  And  so  the  poor  man  prays:  "O 
Amon,  lend  thine  ear  to  him  who  stands  alone  in  the 
court  (of  justice),  who  is  poor  while  his  [opponent]  is  rich. 
The  court  oppresses  him  (saying),  ' Silver  and  gold  for 
the  scribes!  Clothing  for  the  servants!'  But  Amon 
transforms  himself  into  the  vizier,  that  he  may  cause  the 
poor  man  to  triumph;  the  poor  man  is  just  and  the  poor 
man  •overcomes1  the  rich.  Pilot  [in]  front  who  knoweth 
the  water,  Amon,  thou  Rudder,  .  .  .  who  giveth  bread 
to  him  who  has  none,  and  preserveth  alive  the  servant  of 
his  house."6  For  the  god  is  now  that  "Amon-Re  who 
first  became  king,  O  god  of  the  beginning,  thou  vizier  of 
the  poor  man,  not  taking  the  corrupt  reward,  not  saying, 

1  Papyrus  Anastasi,  IV,  10,  1-7.  2  Erman,  ibid.,  1107. 

3  Ibid.,  1108.  4  Maximes  d'Ani,  7,  3. 

6  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  38,  24. 
6  Papyrus  Anastasi,  II,  8,  5-9,  3. 


354    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

1  Bring  witnesses;'  Amon-Re  who  judgeth  the'earth  with 
his  finger,  whose  words  are  before  the  heart.  He  assigneth 
him  that  sinneth  against  him  to  the  fire,  and  the  just  [to] 
the  West."  l  Rich  and  poor  alike  may  suffer  the  dis- 
pleasure of  the  god  aroused  by  sin.  An  oath  taken 
lightly  or  falsely  calls  down  the  wrath  of  the  god,  and  he 
smites  the  transgressor  with  sickness  or  blindness,  from 
which  relief  may  be  obtained  as  we  have  seen,  if  repent- 
ance follows  and  the  offender  humbly  seeks  the  favor  of 
his  god.2  Now  for  the  first  time  conscience  is  fully  eman- 
cipated. The  sinner  pleads  his  ignorance  and  proneness 
to  err.  "Thou  sole  and  only  one,  thou  Harakhte  who 
hath  none  other  like  him,  protector  of  millions,  savior  of 
hundred-thousands,  who  shieldeth  him  that  calleth  upon 
him,  thou  lord  of  Heliopolis;  punish,  me  not  for  my  many 
sins.  I  am  one  ignorant  of  his  own  body,  I  am  a  man 
without  understanding.  All  day  I  follow  after  my  own 
dictates  as  the  ox  after  his  fodder."  3  This  is  in  striking 
contrast  with  the  Book  of  the  Dead,  in  which  the  soul 
admits  no  sin  and  claims  entire  innocence.  But  now  in 
this  posture  of  unworthiness  and  humility  there  is  inner 
communion  with  God  night  and  day.  "  Come  to  me,  O 
Re-Harakhte,  that  thou  may  est  guide  me;  for  thou  art 
he  that  doeth,  and  none  doeth  without  thee,  but  thou  art 
he  who  doeth  it.  Come  to  me,  Atum,  thou  art  the  august 
god.  My  heart  goes  out  to  Heliopolis.  .  .  .  My  heart 
rejoiceth  and  my  bosom  is  glad.  My  petitions  are  heard, 
even  my  daily  prayers,  and  my  hymns  by  night.  My 
supplications  shall  flourish  in  my  mouth,  for  they  are 
heard  this  day."  4 

1  Papyrus  Anastasi,  II,  6,  5-7. 

2Erman,  ibid.,  1102-3,  1104,  1098-1110,  1101-2,  1107. 
\_8_Paj?yrus  Ar^stRsj,  Hj  io,  5-1 1;  2. 
4  Ibid.,  II,  10,  1-10,  5. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  355 

In  the  old  hymns,  made  up  of  objective  descriptions, 
quotations  from  the  myths,  and  allusions  to  mythical  in- 
cidents, all  matters  entirely  external  to  the  life  of  the  wor- 
shipper, every  man  might  pray  the  same  prayer;  but  now 
prayer  becomes  a  revelation  of  inner  personal  experience, 
an  expression  of  individual  communion  with  God.  It  is  a 
communion  in  which  the  worshipper  discerns  in  his  god 
one  nourishing  the  soul  as  a  shepherd  feeds  his  flock. 
"O  Amon,  thou  herdman  bringing  forth  the  herds  in  the 
morning,  leading  the  suffering  to  pasture;  as  the  herd- 
man  leads  the  herds  [to]  pasture,  so  dost  thou,  O  Amon, 
lead  the  suffering  to  food,  for  Amon  is  a  herdman,  herding 
him  that  leans  upon  him.  ...  0  Amon-Re,  I  love  thee 
and  I  have  filled  my  heart  with  thee.  .  .  .  Thou  wilt 
rescue  me  out  of  the  mouth  of  men  in  the  day  when  they 
speak  lies;  for  the  Lord  of  Truth,  he  liveth  in  truth.  I 
will  not  follow  the  anxiety  in  my  heart,  (for)  that  which 
Amon  hath  said  flourisheth.',  l  There  are,  to  be  sure,  ex- 
ternal and  material  means  which  will  further  this  spiritual 
relation  with  the  god.  The  wise  man  sagely  admonishes 
to" celebrate  the  feast  of  thy  god,  repeat  his  seasons;  the 
god  is  wroth  [with]  him  who  transgresses  [against]  him."  2 
Nevertheless,  even  in  the  opinion  of  the  sages,  who  are 
wont  to  compromise  with  traditional  customs,  the  most 
effective  means  of  gaining  the  favor  of  God  is  contempla- 
tive silence  and  inner  communion.  "Be  not  of  many 
words,  for  in  silence  shalt  thou  gain  good.  ...  As  for 
the  precinct  of  God,  his  abomination  is  crying  out;  pray 
thou  with  a  desiring  heart  whose  every  word  is  hidden, 

1  Inscriptions  in  the  Hieratic  Character,  XXVI,  British  Museum 
Ostrakon,  No.  5656  a,  11.  6-7,  14-15,  verso  11.  1-3  (after  a  collation 
by  Erman.     Cf.  Zeitschr.  fiir  aegypt.  Sprache,  42,  106). 

2  Maximes  d'Ani,  2,  3-5. 


356     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

and  he  will  supply  thy  need,  and  hear  thy  speech  and  re- 
ceive thy  offering."  l  It  is  in  such  an  attitude  as  this 
that  the  worshipper  may  turn  to  his  God  as  to  a  fountain 
of  spiritual  refreshment,  saying,  "Thou  sweet  Well  for 
him  that  thirsteth  in  the  desert;  it  is  closed  to  him  who 
speaks,  but  it  is  open  to  him  who  is  silent.  When  he  who 
is  silent  comes,  lo,  he  finds  the  well."  2  This  attitude  of 
silent  communion,  waiting  upon  the  gracious  goodness  of 
God,  was  not  confined  to  the  select  few,  nor  to  the  edu- 
cated priestly  communities.  On  the  humblest  monu- 
ments of  the  common  people  Amon  is  called  the  god 
"who  cometh  to  the  silent,"  or  the  "lord  of  the  silent," 
as  we  have  already  observed.3  It  is  in  this  final  develop- 
ment of  devotional  feeling,  crowning  the  religious  and 
intellectual  revolution  of  Ikhnaton,  and  also  forming  the 
culmination  of  the  doctrines  of  social  justice  emerging  in 
the  Feudal  Age,  that  the  religion  of  Egypt  reached  its 
noblest  and  most  exalted  period.  The  materials  for  the 
age  of  the  decadence  which  followed  are  too  scanty  to 
reveal  clearly  the  causes  of  the  stagnation  which  now 
ensued,  a  decline  from  which  the  religious  life  of  Egypt 
never  recovered. 

In  morals  and  in  the  attitude  toward  life  the  sages 
continued  to  maintain  a  spirit  of  wholesome  regard  for 
the  highest  practical  ideals,  an  attitude  in  which  we  dis- 
cern a  distinct  advance  upon  the  teachings  of  the  fathers. 
Reputation  was  strictly  to  be  guarded.  "Let  every  place 
which  thou  lovest  be  known,"  says  the  sage; 4  and  drunk- 
enness and  dissolute  living  are  exhibited  in  all  their  dis- 
astrous consequences  for  the  young.  To  the  young  man 
the  dangers  of  immorality  are  bared  with  naked  frank- 

1  Ibid.,  3,  1-4.  2  Papyrus  Sallier,  I,  8,  2-3. 

3  See  above,  pp.  349,  351.  4  Maximes  d'Ani,  3,  12. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  357 

ness.  "Guard  thee  from  the  woman  from  abroad,  who 
is  not  known  in  her  city;  look  not  on  her,  .  .  .  know  her 
not  in  the  flesh;  (for  she  is)  a  flood  great  and  deep,  whose 
whirling  no  man  knows.  The  woman  whose  husband  is 
far  away,  'I  am  beautiful,'  says  she  to  thee  every  day. 
When  she  has  no  witnesses,  she  stands  and  ensnares  thee. 
O  great  crime  worthy  of  death  when  one  hearkens,  even 
when  it  be  not  known  abroad.  (For)  a  man  takes  up 
every  sin  [after]  this  one"  l  As  for  the  good  things  of 
life,  they  are  to  be  regarded  with  philosophical  reserve. 
It  is  foolish  to  count  upon  inherited  wealth  as  a  source  of 
happiness.  "Say  not,  'My  maternal  grandfather  has  a 
house  on  the  estate  of  So  and  So.'  Then  when  thou 
comest  to  the  division  (by  will)  with  thy  brother,  thy 
portion  is  (only)  a  storage-shed."  2  In  such  things  indeed 
there  is  no  stability.  "So  it  is  forever,  men  are  naught. 
One  is  rich,  another  is  poor.  ...  He  who  was  rich  last 
year,  he  is  a  vagrant  this  year.  .  .  .  The  watercourse  of 
last  year,  it  is  another  place  this  year.  Great  seas  be- 
come dry  places,  and  shores  become  deeps."  3  We  have 
here  that  Oriental  resignation  to  the  contrasts  in  life 
which  seems  to  have  developed  among  all  the  peoples  of 
the  early  East.4 

The  speculations  of  the  thinking  class,  especially  those 
which  we  have  found  in  intimations  of  pantheism  as  far 
back  as  the  Pyramid  Age,  had  also  now  gained  currency 
among  the  common  people,  although  of  course  in  the  con- 
crete form  in  which  such  reflections  always  find  expression 
in  the  East.     A  picturesque  tale  of  the  twelfth  century 

«  Ibid.,  2,  13-17.  2  Ibid.,  5,  7-8.  3  Ibid.,  7,  8-9. 

4  See,  for  example,  the  song  of  Sindebad  the  porter  in  the  court  of 
the  rich  man's  house.  Algiers  edition  of  Sindebad  the  Sailor,  Arabic 
text,  p.  4. 


358    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

B.  C.  expresses  in  graphic  form  the  thought  of  the  people 
concerning  these  complicated  and  elusive  matters.  It  is 
now  commonly  known  as  the  Tale  of  the  Two  Brothers.1 
The  two  gods  who  appear  as  the  chief  characters  in  the 
tale  are  pictured  in  the  naive  imagination  of  the  folk  as 
two  peasants,  whose  names,  Anubis  and  Bata,  have  dis- 
closed them  as  gods  of  the  town  of  Kasa,2  who  had  a  place 
in  the  religion  of  Egypt  at  an  enormously  remote  date.3 
Anubis,  the  elder  brother,  is  married;  Bata,  the  younger, 
lives  with  them  almost  as  their  son,  when  the  idyllic 
round  of  picturesque  rustic  life  is  forever  ended  by  an 
attempt  on  the  part  of  the  wife,  enamoured  of  the  younger 
brother,  to  establish  improper  relations  with  him.  The 
youth  indignantly  refuses,  exemplifying  the  current  wisdom 
of  the  wise  man  as  we  have  already  met  it.  The  incident 
later  found  place  in  the  Hebrew  tradition  of  Joseph  in 
Egypt.  Deceived  by  his  wife  into  believing  a  perverted 
version  of  the  affair  foisted  upon  him  by  the  false  woman, 
Anubis  lies  in  wait  to  slay  his  brother.  Warned  by  his 
cattle,  however,  the  youth  flees,  and  his  brother's  pursuit 

1  Preserved  in  a  papyrus  of  the  British  Museum  called  Papyrus 
D'Orbiney;  published  in  Select  Papyri  .  .  .  in  the  British  Museum, 
London,  1860,  part  II,  pis.  ix-xix.  It  has  been  often  translated.  A 
good  rendering  by  Griffith  will  be  found  in  Petrie's  Egyptian  Tales, 
London,  1895,  Second  Series,  pp.  36-65. 

2  See  Gardiner,  Proceedings  of  the  Soc.  of  Bibl.  Arch.,  XXVII, 
1905,  p.  185,  and  Spiegelberg,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  44, 
pp.  98-99. 

3  Naville  has  called  attention  to  the  probable  occurrence  of  Bata 
in  the  Pyramid  Texts  (Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  43,  77-83). 
Naville  seems  to  have  overlooked  the  fact  that  Bata  occurs  as 
early  as  Menes's  time.  Indeed  he  is  to  be  found  on  a  tablet  of  Menes 
published  by  Naville  in  the  very  article  in  question  (p.  79,  fig.'3); 
for  the  bird  represented  there  perched  on  the  building  or  sanctuary 
has  before  him  a  "t."  The  bird  is  to  be  read  "BY'  which  with  the 
"t"  gives  us  the  reading  Bata. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  359 

is  cut  off  by  the  Sun-god,  who  places  between  them  a 
torrent  filled  with  crocodiles.  Then  Bata,  calling  upon 
the  Sun-god  "who  distinguisheth  between  good  and  evil" 
to  judge  between  them,  reproaches  his  brother  with  his 
easy  credulity  as  they  converse  across  the  stream  and 
tells  him  that  all  is  now  over.  As  for  the  youth  himself, 
he  must  depart  to  the  "Valley  of  the  Cedar,"  a  place 
which  must  have  been  on  the  Phoenician  coast,  as  there 
were  no  cedars  in  Egypt.  There  he  will  await  the  coming 
of  Anubis  to  succor  him,  whenever  Anubis  observes  com- 
motion in  the  jar  of  beer  which  he  drinks.  Anubis  re- 
turns and  slays  his  unfaithful  wife,  while  the  youth  wanders 
on  to  the  Valley  of  the  Cedar.  Maintaining  himself  there 
as  a  hunter,  the  Sun-god  sends  him  a  beautiful  wife  to 
solace  his  loneliness.  Although  she  escapes  the  sea  that 
would  have  carried  her  away,  a  stray  lock  of  her  perfumed 
hair  wandering  to  Egypt  betrays  her  to  the  Pharaoh,  who 
searches  for  her  far  and  wide,  and,  like  Cinderella,  she  is 
at  last  brought  to  the  palace.  She  at  once  prays  the  king 
to  send  emissaries  to  cut  down  the  cedar  with  which  the 
life  of  Bata,  her  husband,  is  mysteriously  involved.  When 
this  is  done,  Bata  falls  dead,  and  his  treacherous  wife 
feels  free  to  live  in  splendor  at  the  court.  Then  Bata's 
brother,  Anubis,  observes  a  commotion  in  the  beer  he  is 
drinking,  and  he  sets  out  at  once  to  search  for  Bata,  whose 
body  he  soon  finds  in  the  "Valley  of  the  Cedar."  For 
three  years  he  sought  the  cedar  blossom  in  which  was  the 
soul  of  Bata,  and  wearying,  he  was  about  to  return  to 
Egypt,  when  in  the  fourth  year,  as  he  was  walking  by  the 
cedar,  he  chanced  upon  it.  Then  he  hastened  to  place  it 
in  a  jar  of  water,  and  having  given  the  water  to  Bata  to 
drink,  his  dead  brother  revived,  and  they  embraced  each 
other  and  talked  together.     Bata  now  informs  his  brother 


360    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

that  he  must  assume  the  form  of  a  sacred  bull,  and  going 
in  this  guise  to  the  court,  he  will  reckon  with  the  faithless 
beauty  whom  the  gods  gave  him.  But  the  court  beauty 
compasses  the  death  of  the  bull,  and  from  his  blood  which 
spatters  the  door-posts  of  the  palace  two  beautiful  persea- 
trees  spring  up,  one  on  either  side  of  the  doorway.  When 
the  Pharaoh's  favorite  induces  him  to  cut  these  down,  a 
chip  from  one  of  them  flies  into  her  mouth,  and  as  a  result 
she  bears  a  son,  who  proves  to  be  Bata  himself.  The 
Pharaoh  makes  him  heir  to  the  throne,  to  which  Bata 
finally  succeeds,  and  after  a  long  and  happy  reign  is  fol- 
lowed as  king  by  his  brother,  the  faithful  Anubis. 

It  is  easy  to  discern  in  the  imperishable  life  of  Bata,  as 
it  emerges  in  one  form  after  another,  especially  in  the 
cedar  and  the  persea-tree,  a  folk  version  of  some  of  the 
Osiris  incidents  interwoven  with  the  myth  of  the  Sun-god. 
But  it  will  be  noticed  that  Bata  is  alternately  the  persea 
of  Osiris  and  the  bull  of  the  Sun,  who  still  remains,  as  he 
has  been  throughout  its  history,  the  great  god  of  Egypt. 
"The  god  of  this  land  is  the  Sun  in  the  horizon,  (while) 
his  statues  are  on  earth,"  says  the  sage;1  but  the  other 
gods  have  now  in  the  thought  of  the  time  completely 
coalesced  with  him.  This  Solar  pantheism  now  took  defi- 
nite form  in  the  thought  of  the  theologian,  and  we  ulti- 
mately find  an  " Amon-Re-Wennofer  (Osiris)"  as  king 
of  Egypt,  with  his  name  inclosed  in  a  cartouche  like 
an  earthly  ruler.2  Amon  as  Sun-god  becomes  the  all- 
pervasive,  life-giving  air.  "He  emits  air,  refreshing  the 
throat,  in  his  name  of  'Amon/  who  abides  (mn)  in  all 
things,  the  soul  of  Shu  (god  of  the  air)  for  all  gods,  the 
substance  of  life,  who  created  the  tree  of  life,  .  .  .  flood- 

1  Maximes  d'Ani,  6,  16. 

8  Brugsch,  Reise  nach  der  grossen  Oase,  pi.  xvii. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  361 

ing  the  Two  Lands  (Egypt),  without  whom  none  liveth 
in  Egypt."1  As  god  of  the  universal  air,  "his  voice  is 
heard  though  he  is  not  seen,  refreshing  every  throat, 
strengthening  the  heart  of  the  pregnant  woman  in  travail, 
and  the  man-child  born  of  her."  2  In  the  words  of  an 
old  Sun-hymn  of  Aton  times,  the  worshipper  says,  "  Thou 
art  he  who  fashions  his  body  with  his  own  hands  in  any 
form  he  desires;"  3  and  Amon,  "lord  of  Thebes  shines  in 
his  forms,  which  are  in  every  province,"4  indicating  that 
the  local  gods  of  the  provinces  or  nomes  are  but  forms 
and  names  of  Amon.  The  priests  narrated  too  how  this 
had  come  to  pass.  "Thou  didst  establish  thy  throne  in 
every  place  thou  lovest,  in  order  that  thy  names  might  be 
many.  Cities  and  nomes  bear  thy  beauty,  and  there  is  no 
'region1  without  thy  image."  Then  they  told  how  in  the 
beginning  Amon  had  gone  from  one  great  sanctuary  to  the 
other,  and  how  in  each  one  he  had  established  himself  as 
the  god  of  the  place.  At  Heliopolis  he  had  become  Atum, 
at  Memphis  he  had  become  Ptah,  at  Heracleopolis  he  had 
become  Harsaphes.  Not  only  are  the  gods  but  forms 
of  Amon,  Amon  is  in  all,  and  he  is  all.  "Thy  form  is  the 
Nile,  the  first-born,  older  than  the  gods;  thou  art  the 
great  waters,  and  when  they  penetrate  into  the  soil,  thou 
makest  it  to  live  by  thy  flood.  Thou  art  the  sky,  thou  art 
the  earth,  thou  art  the  Nether  World,  thou  art  the  water, 
thou  art  the  air  that  is  between  them.  Men  rejoice  because 
of  thee,  (for)  thou  ceasest  not 5  to  care  for  all  that  is."  6 

1  Ibid.,  pi.  xv,  11.  5-6.  2  Ibid.,  pi.  xvi,  11.  38-39. 

3  Ibid.,  pi.  xv,  11.  14-16.  4  Ibid.,  pi.  xv,  11.  2-3. 

6  Text  has  "he  ceaseth  not." 

6  Ibid.,  pis.  xxv-xxvi,  11.  22-41.  All  the  above  texts  from  Brugsch's 
Grosse  Oase  are  from  the  temple  of  Hibeh  in  the  oasis  of  el  Khargeh, 
and  date  from  the  reign  of  Darius  II,  the  last  quarter  of  the  fifth 
century  B.  C. 


362     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

Thus  those  pantheistic  speculations  which  we  found  as 
far  back  as  the  Pyramid  Age,  after  two  thousand  years  of 
slow  development  have  finally  resulted  in  identifying  the 
world  with  God. 

In  form  all  the  old  faiths  went  on  as  before,  maintain- 
ing all  the  old  externals.  This  was  especially  true  of 
mortuary  practices,  which  developed  under  the  Empire  as 
never  before.  All  men  of  whatever  class,  no  matter  how 
poor  and  needy,  desired  and  received  some  mortuary 
equipment,  when  laid  away  in  the  grave,  which  might 
enable  the  departed  to  share  in  the  blessed  destiny  of 
Osiris.  The  material  equipment  of  the  dead  for  eternity, 
in  spite  of  the  impressive  demonstration  of  its  futility 
furnished  by  the  desolate  pyramid  cemeteries,  had  now 
become  a  vast  industry  which  all  classes  of  society  called 
into  requisition.  The  sages  cautioned  even  the  young  to 
make  ready  their  tombs.  "  Say  not '  I  am  (too)  young  to 
be  taken.'  Thou  knowest  not  thy  death.  Death  comes 
and  takes  the  child  who  is  in  his  mother's  arms,  like  the 
man  who  has  reached  old  age."  l  "Adorn  thy  seat  which 
is  in  the  valley,  the  tomb  which  shall  hide  thy  body. 
Put  it  before  thee  in  thy  affairs,  which  are  made  account 
of  in  thy  eyes,  like  the  very  old  whom  thou  layest  to  rest 
in  the  midst  of  their  dwelling1.  There  is  no  blame  to 
him  who  doeth  it,  it  is  good  that  thou  be  likewise  equipped. 
When  thy  messenger  comes  rto  take  thee  he  shall  find  thee 
equipped1."  2  Neither  should  a  man  forget  those  who 
already  lie  there:  "Put  water  for  thy  father  and  thy 
mother  who  rest  in  the  valley.  .  .  .  Thy  son  shall  do 
likewise  for  thee."  3 

Under  such  influences  as  these  grew  up  the  vast  cem- 
etery of  Thebes,  in  which  myriads  of  the  common  people 

1Maximes  d'Ani,  4,  2-4.        2Ibid.}  3,  14-4,  2.      zIbid.,  3,  4r-6. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  363 

of  a  class  who  had  never  before  enjoyed  Osirian  burial 
were  now  laid  away.  The  great  mass  of  material  remains 
from  such  cemeteries,  however,  reveals  only  the  popular- 
ization of  tendencies  and  beliefs  long  before  observable 
among  the  higher  and  the  educated  classes.  It  is  rarely 
that  such  tendencies  were  more  than  mechanically  and 
thoughtlessly  followed  by  the  common  folk,  and  seldom 
do  we  find  such  important  developments  among  them  as 
those  manifestations  of  personal  piety  among  the  poor, 
to  which  we  have  already  given  attention. 

With  the  decline  of  the  Empire  from  the  thirteenth  cen- 
tury onward,  the  forces  of  life  both  within  and  without 
were  exhausted  and  had  lost  their  power  to  stimulate 
the  religion  of  Egypt  to  any  further  vital  development. 
Stagnation  and  a  deadly  and  indifferent  inertia  fell  like 
a  stupor  upon  the  once  vigorous  life  of  the  nation.  The 
development  which  now  ensued  was  purely  institutional 
and  involved  no  progress  in  thought.  The  power  of  the 
priesthood  as  a  political  influence  is  observable  as  far  back 
as  the  rise?  of  the  Fifth  Dynasty,  in  the  middle  of  the 
twenty-Sfth  century  B.  C.  In  the  Empire,  however, 
vast  temples,  richly  endowed,  became  an  economic  menace. 
Moreover,  the  great  Pharaohs  of  this  age  began  to  recog- 
nize oracles  of  Amon  as  mandatory.  Thutmose  III  was 
seated  on  his  throne  by  a  conspiracy  of  the  priests  of 
Amon,  supported  by  an  oracle  of  the  great  god  recognizing 
him  as  king.1  When  Thutmose  III,  therefore,  made  the 
High  Priest  of  Amon  primate  of  all  the  priesthoods  of 
Egypt,  the  chief  sacerdotal  official  of  the  state,  he  was  but 
paying  his  political  debts.  This  Amonite  papacy  suffered 
severely  at  the  hands  of  Ikhnaton,  as  we  have  seen. 
After  his  overthrow,  however,  it  recovered  all  it  had  lost 
i  BAR,  II,  131-149. 


364    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

and  much  more.  Ramses  II  even  allowed  an  oracle  of 
Amon  to  guide  him  in  the  appointment  of  the  god's  high 
priest,1  and  under  such  circumstances  it  was  easy  for  the 
high  priests  of  Amon  to  make  the  office  hereditary.  Un- 
able to  resist  the  political  power  of  this  state  within  the 
state,  a  constant  victim  of  its  economic  encroachments, 
Egypt  rapidly  degenerated  into  a  sacerdotal  state,  and 
by  1100  B.  C.  the  Pharaoh  had  yielded  the  sceptre  to 
the  head  of  the  state  church.  It  was  in  the  course  of  this 
long  development  which  placed  the  sacerdotal  party  in 
control  of  the  throne,  that  the  outward  and  official  mani- 
festations of  religion  took  on  those  forms  of  dignity  and 
splendor  such  as  no  Oriental  religion  had  before  displayed. 
The  sanctuaries  of  this  age  will  always  form  one  of  the 
most  imposing  survivals  from  the  ancient  world.  Not 
only  in  their  grandeur  as  architecture,  but  also  in  their 
sumptuous  equipment,  these  vast  palaces  of  the  gods 
lifted  the  external  observances  of  religion  to  a  plane  of 
splendor  and  influence  which  they  had  never  enjoyed 
before.  Enthroned  in  magnificence  which  not  even  the 
sumptuous  East  had  ever  seen,  Amon  of  Thebes  became 
in  the  hands  of  his  crafty  priesthood  a  mere  oracular  source 
for  political  and  administrative  decisions.  Even  routine 
legal  verdicts  were  rendered  by  the  nod  of  the  god,  and 
such  matters  as  wills  and  testaments  were  subject  to  his 
oracles.2  The  old  prayer  of  the  oppressed,  that  Amon 
might  become  the  vizier  of  the  poor  man,  was  receiving 
a  very  literal  fulfilment,  and  with  results  little  foreseen 
by  the  men  who  had  framed  this  prayer.  As  Thebes  de- 
generated into  a  sacerdotal  principality  after  1000  B.  C, 

1  Sethe,  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  44,  30  ff. 

2  For  the  most  important  of  such  oracles  as  yet  known,  see  BAR, 
IV,  650-8,  725-8,  795,  etc. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  365 

and  the  great  cities  of  the  north,  especially  of  the  Delta, 
eclipsed  the  splendor  of  the  old  imperial  capital,  Anion 
slowly  lost  his  pre-eminence,  although  he  was  not  wholly 
neglected.  Even  the  venerable  supremacy  of  the  Sun- 
god  was  encroached  upon  by  the  other  gods  of  the  north. 
On  the  other  hand,  it  is  evident  that  Osiris,  who  was  more 
independent  of  state  patronage  and  support,  rather  gained 
than  lost  in  popularity. 

When  the  decadence,  which  had  continued  for  five 
hundred  years,  was  slowly  transformed  into  a  restoration, 
after  700  B.  C,  the  creative  age  of  inner  development  was 
forever  past.  Instead  of  an  exuberant  energy  expressing 
itself  in  the  spontaneous  development  of  new  forms  and 
new  manifestations,  as  at  the  beginning  of  the  Empire, 
the  nation  fell  back  upon  the  past,  and  consciously  en- 
deavored to  restore  and  rehabilitate  the  vanished  state  of 
the  old  days  before  the  changes  and  innovations  intro- 
duced by  the  Empire.1  Seen  through  the  mist  of  two  thou- 
sand years,  what  was  to  them  ancient  Egypt  was  endowed 
with  the  ideal  perfection  of  the  divine  regime  which  had 
preceded  it.  In  the  endeavor  to  reconstitute  modern 
religion,  society,  and  government  upon  ancient  lines,  the 
archaizers  must  consciously  or  unconsciously  have  been 
constantly  thwarted  by  the  inevitable  mutability  of  the 
social,  political,  and  economic  conditions  of  a  race.  The 
two  thousand  years  which  had  elapsed  since  the  Pyramid 
Age  could  not  be  annihilated.  Through  the  deceptive 
mantle  of  antiquity  with  which  they  cloaked  contemporary 
conditions,  the  inexorable  realities  of  the  present  were 
discernible.  The  solution  of  the  difficulty,  when  per- 
ceived, was  the  same  as  that  attempted  by  the  Hebrews 

1  These  and  the  following  remarks  largely  after  the  author's 
History  of  Egypt,  pp.  570  jf. 


366     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

in  a  similar  dilemma:  it  was  but  to  attribute  to  the  modern 
elements  also  a  hoary  antiquity,  as  the  whole  body  of 
Hebrew  legislation  was  attributed  to  Moses.  The  theoret- 
ical revival  was  thus  rescued. 

The  ancient  mortuary  texts  of  the  pyramids  were  re- 
vived, and  although  frequently  not  understood,  were 
engraved  upon  the  massive  stone  sarcophagi.  The  Book 
of  the  Dead,  which  now  received  its-last  redaction,  shows 
plain  traces  of  this  influence.  In  the  tomb-chapels  we 
find  again  the  fresh  and  pleasing  pictures  from  the  life 
of  the  people  in  marsh  and  meadow,  in  workshop  and 
ship-yard.  They  are  perfect  reproductions  of  the  relief 
scenes  in  the  mastaba  tombs  of  the  Pyramid  Age,  so  per- 
fect indeed  that  at  the  first  glance  one  is  not  infrequently 
in  doubt  as  to  the  age  of  the  monument.  Indeed  a  man 
named  Aba,  at  Thebes,  sent  his  artists  to  an  Old  Kingdom 
tomb  near  Siut  to  copy  thence  the  reliefs  for  use  in  his 
own  Theban  tomb,  because  the  owner  of  the  ancient  tomb 
was  also  named  Aba. 

There  is  a  large  black  granite  stela  in  the  British 
Museum,1  a  copy,  dating  from  the  dawn  of  the  Restora- 
tion, of  an  ancient  papyrus  book  of  the  Old  Kingdom,  a 
"work  of  the  ancestors,  which  was  eaten  of  worms." 
Thus  the  writings  and  sacred  rolls  of  bygone  days  were 
now  eagerly  sought  out,  and,  with  the  dust  of  ages  upon 
them,  they  were  collected,  sorted,  and  arranged.  The 
past  was  supreme.  The  priest  who  cherished  it  lived  in 
a  realm  of  shadows,  and  for  the  contemporary  world  he 
had  no  vital  meaning.  Likewise  in  Babylon  the  same 
retrospective  spirit  was  now  dominant  in  the  reviving 
empire  of  Nebuchadnezzar.     It  was  soon  to  take  possession 

1  No.  797.  See  my  essay  in  Zeitschr.  fur  aegypt.  Sprache,  39, 
Tafel  I,  II,  and  infra,  pp.  41-47,  especially  p.  4G,  note. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  367 

of  the  returning  Hebrew  exiles.  The  world  was  growing 
old,  and  men  were  dwelling  fondly  and  wistfully  on  her 
far-away  youth.  In  this  process  of  conserving  the  old, 
the  religion  of  Egypt  sank  deeper  and  deeper  in  decay, 
to  become,  what  Herodotus  found  it,  a  religion  of  in- 
numerable external  observances  and  mechanical  usages, 
carried  out  with  such  elaborate  and  insistent  punctilious- 
ness that  the  Egyptians  gained  the  reputation  of  being 
the  most  religious  of  all  peoples.  But  such  observances 
were  no  longer  the  expression  of  a  growing  and  develop- 
ing inner  life,  as  in  the  days  before  the  creative  vitality 
of  the  race  was  extinct.  To  be  sure,  many  of  the  finest 
of  the  old  teachings  continued  as  purely  literary  sur- 
vivals, and  new  ones  unconsciously  crept  in,  chiefly  due 
to  foreign  influence.1 

In  the  days  of  the  Greek  kings,  the  Osirian  faith  finally 
submerged  the  venerable  Sun-god,  with  whose  name  the 
greatest  movements  in  the  history  of  Egyptian  religion 
were  associated,  and  when  the  Roman  emperor  became 
an  Oriental  Sun-god,  sol  inmctus,  the  process  was  in 
large  measure  due  to  the  influence  of  Asiatic  Solar  religion 
rather  than  to  the  Solar  Pharaoh,  who,  as  we  have  seen  in 
the  Pyramid  Texts,  had  been  sovereign  and  Sun-god  at 
the  same  time  many  centuries  before  such  doctrines  are 
discernible  in  Asia.  Whether  they  are  in  Asia  the  result 
of  Egyptian  influence  is  a  question  still  to  be  investigated. 
In  any  case,  as  Osiris-Apis  or  Serapis,  Osiris  gained  the 
supreme  place  in  the  popular  as  well  as  the  state  religion, 
and  through  him  the  subterranean  hereafter,  rather  than 

Especially  Babylonian  astrology,  see  Cumont's  brilliant  book, 
Astrology  and  Religion  Among  the  Greeks  and  Romans,  New  York, 
1912,  pp.  73-77,  although  the  Egyptian  origin  of  Ikhnaton's  move- 
ment is  too  evident  to  make  possible  M.  Cumont's  suggestion  of 
influences  from  Asia  in  it. 


368     RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

the  Sun-god's  glorious  celestial  kingdom  of  the  dead, 
passed  over  into  the  Roman  world.  The  imposing  melee 
of  thought  and  religion  from  the  most  remote  and  racially 
divergent  sources,  with  which  the  historian  is  confronted 
as  he  surveys  the  Mediterranean  world  at  the  beginning 
of  the  Christian  era,  was  not  a  little  modified  by  the 
current  which  constantly  mingled  with  it  from  the  Nile. 
It  has  not  been  the  purpose  of  these  lectures  to  include 
this  period  of  far-reaching  syncretism  of  the  Grseco- 
Roman  world;  but  as  we  stand  at  the  close  of  the  long 
religious  development  which  we  have  been  endeavoring 
to  trace,  we  may  ask  ourselves  the  question  whether  the 
ancient  religion  of  Egypt,  as  we  have  found  it  in  old 
native  sources  long  antedating  Greek  civilization,  now 
passed  out  unalloyed  into  the  great  Mediterranean  world. 
It  has  of  course  long  since  been  evident  that  the  religions 
of  the  Mediterranean,  from  the  fourth  century  B.  C.  on- 
ward, or  beginning  perhaps  even  earlier,  were  gradually 
Orientalized,  and  in  this  process  of  Orientalization  the 
progress  of  Christianity  was  but  a  single  phenomenon 
among  others  like  it.  We  all  know  that  it  was  not  the 
Christianity  of  Judea  in  the  first  decades  after  the  cruci- 
fixion which  conquered  the  Roman  world.  It  seems 
equally  evident  that  it  was  the  religion  of  Egypt  as  viewed, 
interpreted,  and  apprehended  by  generations  of  Greeks, 
it  was  this  Hellenized  composite  of  old  Egyptian  religion 
and  Greek  preconceptions l  which  passed  out  into  the 
Mediterranean  world  to  make  Isis  a  household  word  in 
Athens,  to  give  her  a  sanctuary  even  in  such  a  provincial 
city  as  Pompeii,  and  to  leave  such  monuments  in  Rome 

1  Perhaps  we  should  also  add  here  the  astrological  elements  which 
had  invaded  Egypt  from  Syria,  and  after  being  Egyptianized  passed 
on  to  Rome.     See  Cumont,  ibid.,  pp.  76-77. 


THE  AGE  OF  PERSONAL  PIETY  369 

as  Hadrian's  obelisk  on  the  Monte  Pincio,  which  in 
Egyptian  hieroglyphs  still  proclaims  to  the  modern  world 
not  only  the  deification  of  the  beautiful  Greek  youth, 
Hadrian's  favorite,  as  "  Osiris- Antinous,"  but  at  the  same 
time  the  enthronement  of  the  ancient  mortuary  god  of 
Egypt  in  the  palace  of  the  Csesars. 

I  believe  it  was  Louis  Agassiz  who,  after  studying  the 
resistless  action  of  the  Swiss  glaciers  and  watching  the 
massive  boulders  and  fragments  of  rock  brought  down  in 
the  grip  of  the  ice,  to  be  dropped  at  the  bidding  of  the 
summer  sun  in  a  wandering  rampart  of  tumbled  rocks 
skirting  the  mouth  of  the  valley,  at  length  realized  that 
this  glacial  action  had  been  going  on  for  ages,  and  the 
imposing  truth  burst  upon  him  that  the  geological  proc- 
esses of  past  seons  which  have  made  the  earth  are  still 
going  on  at  the  present  day,  that  they  have  never  ceased, 
that  they  will  never  cease. 

We  have  been  tracing  in  broad  lines  the  development 
of  the  religion  of  a  great  people,  unfolding  in  the  course 
of  over  three  thousand  years  as  the  forces  within  and  the 
forces  around  this  ancient  man  wrought  and  fashioned 
his  conception  of  the  divine  powers.  God  as  discerned 
everywhere  in  the  ancient  Oriental  world  was  a  human 
experience.  The  ancient  ideas  of  God  are  but  the  expres- 
sion of  the  best  that  man  has  felt  and  thought  embodied 
in  a  supreme  character  of  which  he  dreamed.  What  was 
intended  by  Ingersoll,  I  suppose,  as  a  biting  gibe,  "An 
honest  god  is  the  noblest  work  of  man,"  is  nevertheless 
profoundly  true.  We  have  seen  the  Egyptian  slowly 
gaining  his  honest  god.  We  gained  ours  by  the  same 
process,  beginning  among  the  Hebrews.  It  would  be 
well  if  we  of  the  modern  world  as  we  look  back  over  these 
ages  lying  behind  us  might  realize  with  Agassiz  in  the 


370    RELIGION  AND  THOUGHT  IN  ANCIENT  EGYPT 

geological  world,1  that  religion  is  still  in  the  making,  that 
the  processes  which  brought  forth  inherited  religion  have 
never  ceased,  that  they  are  going  on  around  us  every  day, 
and  that  they  will  continue  as  long  as  the  great  and  com- 
plex fabric  of  man's  life  endures. 

1  It  is,  however,  a  remarkable  fact  in  this  connection,  that  Agassiz 
never  accepted  evolution  in  the  organic  world. 


INDEX 


Aba:  proper  name,  366 
Absorption  of  divine  qualities,  129 
Abusir,  11,  70,  74,  78,  82 
Abydos,  26,  38,  39,  64,  86,  96,  100, 

159,  179,  256,  259,  285,  286,  287, 

288,  289,  341 
Administration,  238 
Admonitions  of  an  Egyptian  sage, 

199 
Admonitions  of  Ipuwer,  204  #.,  213, 

230,  243  n.,  245,  249,  257,  318,  348 
Akhetaton:  Tell  el-Amarna,  322/., 

330 
Akhikar,  story  of,  215,  247 
Alexander  the  Great,  16 
Amamu,  coffin,  273  n. 
Amenemhet  I :  king,  202,  203 
Amenemhet  II :  king,  285 
Amenemhet  III:  king,  73 
"Amenhotep":  meaning,  321 
Amenhotep  III:  king,  52,  310,  315, 

319,  320,  322 
Amenhotep  IV:  king,  319  ff. 
Ameni  of  Benihasan,   240  n.,   248, 

252 
Amenmose:  scribe,  271 
Amon:  god,  310,  318,  321,  322,  342, 

344,  345,  346,  349,  350,  351,  352, 

353,  360,  363,  364 
Amon-Re:  god,  318 
Amon-Re-Wennofer:  Osiris,  360 
Ancestors,  respect  for,  270 
Ani  and  wife:  scribe,  306/. 
Anubis:  god  of  the  dead,  27,  33,  37, 

62,   100,  113,  131,   149,  225,  259, 

260,  261,  266,  270,  284,  290,  304, 

358/. 
Api,  Amarna  hymn  of,  316  n. 
Apophis:  deity,  283 
Art  as  affected  by  Aton  faith,  336 
"  Ascendest":  use  of  word,  161 
"Ascending":  meaning,  276  n. 
Ascending   by    Day:    Chapters   of, 

276,  294 
Ascent  of  the  sky,  109,  154 
Atlas:  Greek  deity,  11 
Aton  as  universal  creator,  332 
Aton  faith,  322  ff.,  347 


Aton,  fatherly  solicitude,  334 

Aton,  source  of  life,  333 

Atum:  Sun-god,  8,  9,  11,  13,  18,  19, 
36,  42,  44,  45,  76,  96,  107,  108, 
111,  112,  113,  123,  125,  127,  154, 
157,  161,  185,  254,  275,  279,  282, 
319  ff.,  346/.,  350,  354,  361 

Ba:  soul,  56,  57,  59,  61,  62,  265  n. 

Ba,  soul,  began  to  exist  at  death,  56 

Babi:  demon,  303 

Barque  of  Osiris,  288 

Bastet:  goddess,  173 

Bata:  god  in  folk-tale,  358/. 

Beetle,  sacred,  308 

Beliefs,  archaic,  50 

Ben  (ben-ben)  at  Heliopolis,  11,  76, 
330 

Blessedness  hereafter.     See  Felicity 

Bodily  members  enumerated,  110 

Body,  part  of  personality,  55 

Body,  permanent  survival,  70 

Body,  resuscitation  of,  57,  61 

"Book  of  him  who  is  in  the  Nether 
World,"  297 

Book  of  the  Dead,  22, 34,  134,  253  n., 
272,  273,  274,  277,  281,  284,  293, 
294,  295,  296,  297,  299,  301,  308, 
309,  318  n.,  337  n.,  338,  341,  354 

Book  of  the  Dead:  genesis  of,  293/. 

"Book  of  the  Gates,"  297 

"Book  of  the  Two  Ways,"  283,  297 

Busiris:  Dedu,  39 

Buto:  capital  of  Delta,  86,  118,  145 

Byblos:  place  name,  26 

Calendar   of  festivals,  68,  77,  260, 

267  n.,  290 
Cartouches :  use  of,  320 
Celebrations,  religious,  68 
Celestial  hereafter,   101,   159,   274, 

276 
Celestial  hereafter  not  Osirian,  142, 

148 
Celestial  Nile,  122 
Celestial  ocean,  10 
Celestial  revenues  of  Pharaoh,  131 
Ceremonial  transgressions,  303 


371 


372 


INDEX 


Ceremonial  washings,  254 

Chapel,  tomb-,  62 

Character,  personal,  179,  238,  302, 

336 
Charm:  quoted,  133 
Charm  to  open  gates  of  sky,  114 
Charms,  93,  94,  135,  292,  307 
Charms   against   dangers   of  here- 
after, 296 
Charms,  collections  of,  281 
Charms  in  mortuary  texts,  292 
Charms  in  Pyramid  Texts,  80  n. 
Charms,  Pyramid  Texts  used  as,  94 
Charms:  Ushebtis,  295 
Coffin  Texts,  23  n.,  253,  255,  273, 
274,  276,  277,  278,  280,  281,  293, 
294 
Coffins,  inscribed,  272 
Commercial  relations,  314 
Communion  with  god,  354,  355 
Concrete  forms  of  thought,  246 
"Confession,"  negative,  301 
Conscience,  198,  297,  354 
Crimes  denied,  302 
Cult,  7 

Dahshur,  pyramid,  73,  81 

Daily    life,    pictured    in    Pyramid 

Texts,  88 
Dangers  of  hereafter,  282 
Dead,  designations  of,  56  n. 
Dead,  dreaded  as  demons,  292 
Dead  lived  near  the  tomb,  51 
Dead,  malice  of,  284 
Dead,  place  of  the,  99 
Dead,  realms  of  the,  70  ff.,  118  ff. 
Dead,  required  restoration  of  senses, 

58/. 
Dead,  sojourn  in  Nether  World,  276 
Dead,  transformations  of,  277,  296 
Dead,  two  beliefs  as  to  abode,  51 
Death,  protest  against,  91 
Death,  views  of,  190 
Debhen:  official,  65 
Declaration    of   innocence,    301  ff., 

308 
Dedication  of  pyramid  and  temple, 

75 
Der  el-Bahri:  Thebes,  16,  287  n. 
"Devouress":  demon,  306 
Dewamutef,  son  of  Horus,  112,  133 
Dewat,  122,  136,  139,  144 
Dialogue  form  of  discourse,  247 
Dialogue  of  a  Misanthrope,  188  ff., 

199,  203,  215,  230,  238,  245,  246, 

250,  358  n. 


East:  place  of  ascent  of  sky,  116 
"East":  place  of  the  dead,  101,  102 
"East  of  the  sky"  more  sacred  than 

West,  104 
East  of  the  Sky,  place  of  living  again, 

102 
Edfu:  place  name,  9 
Editors  of  Pyramid  Texts,  93 
Egyptian  thinking,  graphic,  7,  219/., 

246 
Eloquent  Peasant,  tale  of  the.     See 

Tale 
Endowments,  testamentary,  67,  81, 

270 
"Ennead":  meaning,  42 
Equipment  of  the  dead,  material, 

75,  84 
"Equipped":  meaning,  169 
"Equipped"  mouths,  94 
"Equipped"  one,  60 
Ethical  decadence,  309 
Ethical  ordeal,  future.     See  Judg- 
ment 
Ethical  requirements,  338 
Ethical  significance  of  Osiris,  255 
Ethical  teaching  in   Osirian  faith, 

176 
Ethics,  336 
Exorcism,  292 
"Expeller  of  Deceit,"  175 
Eye  of  Horus.     See  Horus-Eye 
Eye  of  Khnum,  107 

Faculties,  reconstitution  of,  61 

Falcon,  133,  274,  320 

Falcon,  sacred  bird  of  Sun-god,  109 

Falcon,  symbol  of  Horus,  9 

Feast,  oldest  religious,  39 

Feasts,  calendar  of.     See  Calendar 

Feasts,  list  of,  267 

Felicity  in  hereafter,  135,  177,  257 

Felicity,  not  dependent  on  material 

means,  84 
Ferry-boat  over  Lily-lake,  105  /. 
Ferrying  over,  155,  157 
Ferryman,  119,  130,  157 
Ferryman  of  Re,  172 
Festivals,  Osirian,  289 
Fetekta,  servant  of  Re,  119 
Field  of  Life,  136 
Field  of  Offering,  133,  137 
Field  of  Rushes,  161,  172 
Filial  piety,  167 
"First  of  the  Westerners,"  38,  100, 

104  n.,  143,  159,  162,  258,  286,  289 
Floats  of  reeds,  two,  108,  158 


INDEX 


373 


Folk-religion:  Osirian,  285 

Folk-tales,  10,  46 

"Followers  of  Horus,"  171,  306 

"Followers  of  Osiris,"  158 

Food  supply  in  hereafter,  129,  281 

Forty-two  gods  of  judgment,  299  ff. 

Funeral  barge,  286 

Funerary  furniture,  prehistoric,  50 

Funerary  ritual,  93 

Future,  ultimate,  196 

Gastjti,  bull  of  the  sky  (Saturn),  112 
Gates  of  celestial  country  opened, 

114 
Geb:  Earth-god,  9,  11,  18,  21,  22,  24, 

30,  34,  36,  41,  42,  58,  63,  111,  113, 

117,  118  n.,  139,  143,  172,  173,  280 
Gebga:  mysterious  scribe,  282 
Genii  of  the  dead,  four,  156,  157 
Gizeh:  place  name,  258 
Gizeh,  cemetery,  83,  84 
Gizeh,  pyramids  of,  15 
"Glorious,"  56  n. 
"Glorious,"  dead  called,  94 
"Glorious  one,"  60,  148,  162,  265 n. 
"Gods,"  322 

Gods,  possible  hostility  of,  115 
Graphic  forms  of  thought,  7,  219  /., 

246 
"Grasper  of  Forelocks,"  127 
"Great  God,  Lord  of  the  Sky,"  171 

Hammurabi,  laws  of,  246 

Hapi,  son  of  Horus,  112,  133 

Hapu:  vizier,  239  n. 

Hapuseneb:  High-priest  of  Amon, 

319  n. 
Harakhte:  Horus  of  Horizon,  9,  109, 

121,  155,  156,  318,  320 
Hardedef :  son  of  Khufu,  182,  184 
Harhotep,  tomb  of,  256  n. 
Harhotep:  tomb  inscriptions,  273  n., 

282  n. 
Harkhuf  of  Elephantine,  169 
Harmhab:  king,  345 
Harsaphes:  god,  361 
Hathor,  the  eye  of  Re:  goddess,  124, 

253,  278,  279 
Hatshepsut:  queen,  287  n.,  319  n. 
"  Heart" :  seat  of  intelligence,  44,  55, 

59 
Heart  scarab,  308,  339,  340  n. 
Heliopolis,  10,  11,  15,  28,  33,  34,  40, 

43,  44,  71,  72,  76,  110.  116,  118  n., 

147,  148,  152,  175,  176,  199,  250, 

251,  275.  281,  303,  321,  354,  361 


Heliopolitan  theology,  149,  336 
Hepzefl  of  Slut,  67,  259,  270,  289 
Hereafter  as  a  place  of  dangers,  281 
Hereafter,  conception  of,  278 
Hereafter,   continuation  of  life  in, 

49/.,  81,  280 
Hereafter,  dangers  of,  296 
Hereafter,  democratization  of,  252, 

257 
Hereafter,  glorious,  103 
Hereafter,  material  welfare  in,  165 
Hereafter,  Osirian,  285 
Hereafter,  Osirian  doctrine,  159 
Hereafter,  royal  felicity  in,  88 
Hereafter,  royal  survival  in,  75 
Hereafter,  sojourn  in,  53 
Hereafter,  Solar  and  Osirian  concep- 
tions, 140 
Hereafter,  views  of,  295 
Heralds  announcing  the  king,  118 
Herodotus,  277,  288,  290,  367 
High  Priest  of  Amon,  319 
Hor:  architect,  315,  326  n. 
Horus:  god,  8,  9,  10,  18,  26,  28,  29, 
30,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  39,  40, 
41,  42,  53,  57,  59,  62,  63,  78,  81, 
86,   100,  105,  108,  112,  118,  119, 
120,   122,   133,  140,  143,  145,  147, 
148,   152,   154,  160,  162,  164,  166, 
172,  173,  175,  236,  254,  255,  278, 
284,  288,  290,  303,  306,  345 
Horus,  battle  with  Set,  31 
Horus,  filial  piety  of,  29 
Horus,  good  offices  to  the  king,  146 
Horus  of  Dewat,  133 
Horus  of  the  East,  155  /. 
Horus  of  the  Gods,  155/. 
Horus  of  the  Horizon,  155/.,  318 
Horus  of  the  Shesmet,  155/. 
Horus,  Solar,  41 
Horus,  sons  of,  111,  112  n.,  133,  156, 

175 
Horus-Eye,  12,  13,  31,  59,  78,  104, 

107  n.,  162,  278 
Horuses,  four,  9,  114,  124,  133,  154, 

155,  156,  157,  172 
Hostile  creatures  to  dead,  51 
Hymn,  magical,  to  Sun-god,  121 
Hymn  to  Amon,  345/.,  349,  350 
Hymn  to  Aton,  royal,  329 
Hymn  to  Osiris,  348 
Hymn  to  Osiris  as  Nile,  96 
Hymn  to  Sun,  earliest,  13 
Hymn  to  Sun-god,   124,  310,  312, 

315 
Hymn  to  the  Sky-goddess,  96,  148 


374 


INDEX 


Hymn  to  the  Sun,  95,  96,  98,  211  n. 

Hymns,  ancient  religious,  93 

Hymns  not  necessarily  charms,  95 

Hymns,  old,  355 

Hymns,  religious,  97 

Hymns  to  Aton,  321,  323,  336,  361 

Hymns  to  the  gods,  17 

Ideals,  practical,  356 
Ikhernofret:  officer,  287  ff. 
"Ikhnaton":  meaning,  322 
Ikhnaton:  king,  344,  345  n.,  363 
Imhotep:  architect  of  Zoser,    182, 

184 
Immorality,  356 
Immortality,  179,  184 
"  Immortality  "  not  an  Egyptian  be- 
lief, 61 
Imperialism,  effect  on  religion,  313 
Imperial       power,      reaction      on 

thought,  5 
"  Imperishable  Ones  " :  the  dead,  101 
Imperishable   Stars,   92,    107,    130, 

134,  136,  137,  138,  139,  149,  158, 

159,  163,  279 
Imset,  son  of  Horus,  112,  133 
Incense,  significance  of,  126 
Inmutef :  priestly  title,  14 
Innocence,  declaration  of,  301./F.,  308 
Innocence  of  evil-doing,  168 
Installation  of  the  Vizier,  239,  246, 

248,  249,  348 
Instruction    of    Amenemhet,    247, 

249  n. 
Intef:  baron,  271 

Intelligence,  part  of  personality,  55 
Inti  of  Deshasheh,  171 
Ipuwer,  Admonitions  of,  204  ff.,  213, 

230,  243  n.,  245,  249,  257,  318,  348 
Irreconcilable  beliefs,  163/. 
Isesi:  king,  228 
Isis:  goddess,  9, 11,  24,  26,  27,  29,  30, 

32,  34,  37,  38,  39,  57,  104  n.,  113. 

119,  125,  135,  137,  145,  147,  154, 

156,  162,  286,  290,  304,  306,  368 

Jackal,  a  god  of  the  west,  120 
Judge  in  the  hereafter,  176 
Judgment,    future,    169,    173,    179, 

253,  256,  294,  297,  299  ff.,  309,  338 
Judgment:  Osirian,  307 
"Justice,"  174  n. 
Justice,  238,  242,  244,  252,  253 
Justice  to  the  poor,  226 
Justification  of  the  dead,  54,    178, 

197,  254,  255,  339 


Justification,  Solar,  174 
Justification  through  magic,  309 
"Justified,"  33,  147,  175,  256  n. 

Ka  (kas),45,  52/.,  55,  57  n.,  69  n.,  76, 

77,   111,  112,  122,  130,  134,  137, 

174,  267,  275,  283,  284,  286,  305, 

352 
Ka  a  superior  genius,  52 
Ka,  exclusive  possession  of  king,  55 
Ka,  not  an  element  of  personality, 

55 
Kebehet,  daughter  of  Anubis,  112, 

113,  116,  136 
Kebehsenuf,  son  of  Horus,  112,  133 
Kegemne:  vizier,  228 
Kerkeru:  scribe  of  Osiris,  277 
Khafre:  king,  15,  68 
Khai:  proper  name,  352 
Khekheperre-sonbu:     priest,      199 

200,  230,  238,  247,  250 
Khenti-Amentiu :     "First     of     the 

Westerners,"  38,  143 
Khepri:  Sun-god,  9,  10,  13,  112,  161, 

316 
Kheti:  vizier,  241,  244 
Khnumhotep    of   Benihasan,    267, 

271,  286 
Khufu:  king,  15,  182,  184,  271 
King.     See  also  Pharaoh 
King  as  counsellor  of  Re,  120 
King  became  Osiris,  145/. 
King  identified  with  god,  160 
King  not  exempt  from  judgment, 

172,  177 
Kingship,  conception  of,  17 
Kingship,  relation  of  Osiris  to,  39 
Kingship,  the  idealized,  251 

Ladder  to  sky,  111,  112,  116,  153, 
156,  158 

"  Landing" :  euphemism  for  "death," 
92 

Laws  of  Egypt,  248 

Lexicography  of  Pyramid  Texts,  90 

Life  after  death,  49  /.  See  also  Here- 
after 

Life-giving  power  of  Aton,  Sun-god, 
333 

Life  hereafter,  indefinite,  81 

"Lily-lake,"  105/.,  116,  125  n.,  139, 
279 

Literary  quality  of  Pyramid  Texts, 
97 

"  Look-behind, "  the  ferryman,  105/. 

Luxor,  16,  52 


INDEX 


375 


Mafdet:  deity,  133 

Magic,  284,  309.     See  also  Charms 

Magic  and  magic  power,  94,  95 

Magic  in  hereafter,  290,  292,  307 

Magic  jar,  106 

Magical  agencies,  281,  339 

Magical  charm,  338  n. 

Magical  charms,  93 

Magical  devices,  132 

Magical  equipment,  mortuary,  60 

Magical  formulae,  291 

Magical  hymn  to  Sun-god,  121 

Magical  power,  116 

Mastaba  reliefs,  113 

Mat:  goddess  of  truth,  173,  255,  338 

Material  equipment  of  the  dead,  62, 
362 

Medum,  pyramids,  83 

Memphis,  43,  241,  361 

Memphite  theology,  46,  166 

Menkure:  king,  15 

Meri:  architect,  258 

Merire:  Pepi  I,  172 

Mernere:  king,  19,  77,  84,  85,  108, 
160,  172 

Messianic  kingdom,  251 

Messianism,  212  if. 

Methen,  keeper  of  gate  of  sky,  119 

"Mighty":  used  of  the  dead,  61 

Migration  of  literary  materials,  215 

Mnevis:  sacred  bull,  321  n. 

Mohammed,  234  n. 

Monotheism,  6,  315 

Monotheistic  phrases,  347 

"Mooring' ' :  euphemism  for ' 'death, ' ' 
92,  186 

Moral  aspirations  limited,  176 

Moral  consciousness,  37,  306,  336 

Moral  decadence,  209 

Moral  distinctions,  309 

Moral  earnestness,  238 

Moral  ideals,  238 

Moral  ideas,  8 

Moral  life  obligation  to,  187 

Moral  obligations,  250,  251 

Moral  ordeal  in  future.  See  Judg- 
ment 

Moral  requirements,  253 

Moral  responsibility,  170,  253,  307, 
309 

Moral  sense,  33,  309 

Moral  sense,  emergence  of,  165 

Moral  thinking,  252 

Moral  unworthiness,  251 

Moral  unworthiness  of  society,  202 

Moral  values,  5 


Moral  worthiness,  173,  304 
Moral  worthiness,  claims  of,  167 
Morning  Star,   133,   134,   138,   173, 

284 
Mortuary     belief     dominated     by 

magic,  284 
Mortuary  contracts,  260 
Mortuary  gifts,  258,  270 
Mortuary  inscriptions,  248,  285 
Mortuary  literature,  272 
Mortuary  magical  equipment,  60 
Mortuary  maintenance,  78 
Mortuary  paintings,  56 
Mortuary  practices,  259,  362 
Mortuary  practices, Osirian,  62 
Mortuary  priest,  servant  of  the  ka, 

54 
Mortuary  priests,  98,  270 
Mortuary  processions,  260,  266 
Mortuary  statuettes:  Ushebtis,  295 
Mortuary  texts,  253,  273,  366 
Mortuary  texts  for  king  only,  99 
Mortuary  texts  on  rolls,  293 
Mummy,  devices  to  make  it  a  living 

body,  59 
Mythology  of  Egypt,  46 
Myths,  12.  85,  355 
Myths,  fragments  of  old,  93 
Myths,  lost,  91 
Myths,  old,  96 

Nakht-Amon:  painter,  351 
Name,  107,  116,  134,  301 
Name,  good,  on  earth,  188 
National  organization,  first,  5 
Nebre:  painter,  351 
Neferhotep:  priest,  182,  185 
Neferhotepes,  queen,  82 
Neferirkere,  king,  16,  78,  82 
Neferkere:  Pepi  II,  139,  146,  174 
"Negative  confession,"  301 
Neit:  goddess,  125 
Nekheb,  130 
Nekhtyoker:  prince,  271 
Nekure,  prince,  68 
Nemaathap:  royal  mother,  81 
Neper:  harvest  god,  277 
Nephthys:  goddess,  9,  11,  26,  27,  30, 

32,  34,  38,  59  n.,  97,  104  n.,  113, 

119,  125,  137,  145,  147,  154,  156, 

162,  304 
Neshmet  barque,  289 
Nether  World,  99,  144,  160,  276,  281 
Nether  World  the  domain  of  Osiris, 

36 
New  Year  celebrations,  261 


376 


INDEX 


Nile,  21 

Nile  as  Osiris,  333 

Nile,  influence  on  Egyptian  relig- 
ion, 8 

Nile-god,  52 

Nun:  god,  34,  125,  133 

Nuserre:  king,  82 

Nut:  Sky-goddess,  11,  24,  95,  123, 
133,  135,  136,  137,  139,  143,  148, 
161,  162,  279,  317 

Obelisk,  15 

Obelisk:  symbol  of  Sun-god,  70 

Offering  ritual,  79,  90  n.,  150,  151, 

159 
Offerings  for  king,  78 
Offerings  for  the  dead,  62 
Offerings  to  the  dead :  Horus-eye,  59 
Official  conduct,  238 
Onkhu:  priest,  200 
Ophir  of  the  Old  Testament,  66 
Orion:  the  sky,  128,  139,  144,  277, 

284 
Osirian  editing  of  texts,  172  n.,  276 
Osirian  ethics,  309 
Osirian    faith,   37  /.,  78,    102,   139, 

157,  176,  274,  285,  304,  307,  310, 
367 

Osirian  faith:  popular  religion,  140, 
142 

Osirian  litigation  at  Heliopolis,  175 

Osirian  "passion  play,"  26,  287, 
290,  341 

Osirian  point  of  view,  42 

Osirian  theology,  43,  148 

Osirianization  of  Egyptian  religion, 
142  ff.,  176 

Osirianization  of  hereafter,  276 

Osirianization  of  Pyramid  Texts, 
150  ff. 

Osiris:  god,  8,  9,  11,  18  if.,  25,  26,  27, 
28,  29,  30,  32,  34,  35,  36,  37,  39, 
40,  42,  53,  57  n.,  59,  62,  73  n.,  74, 
75,  76,  96,  97,  100,  104  n.,  119, 
139,  140,  143,  144,  145,  147,  148, 
149,  150,  153,  154,  155,  156,  157, 

158,  159,  160,  161,  162,  163,  164, 
170,  171,  174,  176,  188,  250,  251. 
252,  253,  254,  255,  256,  258,  259, 
276,  277,  278,  284,  285,  286,  288, 
289,  290,  299,  301,  304,  305,  306, 
309,  310,  337,  338,  340,  341,  348, 
360,  362,  365,  367 

Osiris,  a  mortuary  god,  54 
Osiris  and  Set,  correlation  of,  40 
Osiris  as  judge,  255 


Osiris  as  Nile,  18,  146 

Osiris  as  sea  or  ocean,  20 

Osiris,    associated    with    vegetable 

life,  22 
Osiris  barque,  256  n. 
Osiris  celestialized,  149 
Osiris,  charges  against,  32 
Osiris,  identifications  of,  23 
Osiris,  identified  with  soil  or  earth 

21 
Osiris,  lord  of  Dewat,  150 
Osiris  myth,  24,  37,  63,  145,  152,  251, 

284,  287,  288,  290 
Osiris  receives  the  kingdom,  36 
Osiris  Solarized,  160 
Osiris,  source  of  fertility,  20 
Osiris,  the  principle  of  life,  23 
Osiris,  triumph  of,  33 
Osiris-Apis:  Serapis,  367 
Osiris- Wennofer:  god,  306 

Paheri:  prince,  298 
Pai:  painter,  351 
Pantheism,  312,  357 
Pantheistic  speculations,  362 
Papremis:  place  name,  288,  290 
"Passion  play":  Osirian,  287,  290, 

341 
Pepi:  king,  53,  57,  58,  76,  78,  81,  88 

89,  91,  92,  94,  102,  106,  107,  108, 

109,  110,  111,  113,  114,  115,  116. 

117,  118,  126,  130,  131,  132,  133, 

134,  136,  137,  150,  153,  158,  162 
163,  171,  172,  173,  174,  175,  177, 
178 

Pepi  I:  king,  19,  84,  85,  154,  158 
Pepi  I,  addressed  as  Osiris,  19 
Pepi  II,  king,  19,  66,  76,  79,  81,  85, 

111,  112 
Pepi  II,  as  Osiris,  19 
Persen:  noble,  82 
Personal  aspiration  to  god,  349 
Personal  relation  to  god,  349 
Personality,    Egyptian   conception, 

51,  55,  61,  70,  179,  181 
Personality  never  dissociated  from 

body,  56 
Pessimism,  203,  216,  249,  257 
Pharaoh,  15,  16,  17,  64,  70,  75,  81, 

100,    103,    105,    114,    117,    130  n., 

135,  154,  173,  240,  272,  310,  318, 
319,  320,  364 

Pharaoh  a  cosmic  figure,  125 
Pharaoh  as  priest  before  Re,  121 
Pharaoh  as  son  of  Sun-god,  122 
Pharaoh   becomes  a  great  god,  123 


INDEX 


377 


Pharaoh,  deceased,  as  scribe  of  Re, 
120 

Pharaoh,  entrance  to  sky,  149 

Pharaoh,  identified  with  Re,  122 

Pharaoh  on  Sun-god's  throne,  124 

Pharaoh  preying  on  the  gods,  127 

Pharaoh  receives  homage  as  Sun- 
god,  125 

Pharaoh.     See  also  King 

Phoenix,  11,  71,  72,  77,  274,  278,  296, 
300 

Physical  restoration  of  dead,  57 

Pilgrimages  to  Abydos,  285 

Pleasure,  life  of,  194 

Plutarch,  25,  28 

Poetic  form  of  the  Pyramid  Texts, 
97 

Poor,  complaints  of  the,  219 

Popularization  of  mortuary  cus- 
toms, 272 

Portrait  statues,  65,  168,  179,  259, 
267 

Prayer,  355 

Prayer  for  the  dead:  effectiveness, 
272 

Prayers  for  dead  king,  93 

Prayers  in  Pyramid  Texts,  80  n. 

Prayers  used  as  charms,  95 

"Prepared"  one,  60 

Priesthood,  179,  309,  342 

Priesthood  of  Amon,  319,  321 

Priesthood,  political,  363 

Priesthood,  state,  142 

Priests,  maintenance  of,  81 

"Primaeval,"  title  of  Osiris,  22 

Privileges  accruing  from  endow- 
ments, 68 

Procession,  Osirian,  289 

Psychology  of  the  dead,  61 

Ptah:  god,  11,  43,  44,  45  n.,  47,  278, 
361 

Ptah-tatenen :  god,  45,  46 

Punt:  Ophir,  66 

Purification  of  the  dead,  103,  155, 
171 

Pyramid,  15,  140 

Pyramid  causeway,  74 

Pyramid  complex,  74 

Pyramid  residence  city,  75 

Pyramid,  sacred  symbol,  70 

Pyramid,  symbol  of  Sun-god,  320 

Pyramid  temple,  74 

Pyramid  Texts,  10,  12,  18,  19,  20, 
25,  26,  31,  33  n.,  34,  35,  38,  40,  52, 
56,  57,  60,  61,  63,  69  n.,  72,  73  n., 
77,  79,  84,  85,  87,  97,   101.   102, 


103,  104,  114,  115,  122,  124,  126, 
131,  135,  142,  144,  145,  146,  148, 
149,  150,  155,  158,  159,  163,  171, 
172,  175,  176  n.,  177,  178,  209, 
250,  251,  254,  272,  273,  274,  275, 
276,  277,  278,  279,  280,  281,  282, 
285,  294,  310,  312,  318,  320,  358 

Pyramid  Texts:  a  compilation,  92 

Pyramid  Texts:  a  terra  incognita,  90 

Pyramid  Texts:  function  to  insure 
king  felicity  in  hereafter,  88,  92 

Pyramid  Texts  not  a  coherent  whole, 
135/. 

Pyramid  Texts  not  used  by  nobles, 
99 

Pyramid  Texts  Osirianized,  150  ff. 

Pyramid  Texts  recited,  98 

Pyramid-tomb,  72,  74 

Pyramidion  (ben-ben),  71 

Pyramids,  178,  179 

Pyramids,  inscribed,  84 

Pyramids:  material  equipment,  84 

Ramses  II:  king,  364 

Ramses  IV:  king,  18 

Rationalism  of  Ikhnaton,  333 

Re:  Sun-god,  8,  9,  10,  17,  18,  24,  33, 
36,  43,  53,  66,  78,  79,  87,  102,  103, 
106,  107,  108,  109,  110,  111,  115, 
117,  118,  119,  120,  121,  122,  123, 
124,  125,  126,  131,  132,  133,  134, 
135,  136,  137,  138,  139,  140,  148, 
149,  152,  154,  159,  160,  161,  162, 
163,  164,  170,  171,  172,  174,  175, 
185,  187,  196,  211,  221,  225,  245, 
250,  251,  252,  253,  274,  275,  277, 
279,  281,  285,  304,  305,  310,  324, 
328,  337,  346,  350 

Re-Atum:  Solar  god,  10,  119,  120, 
139,  160,  161,  274 

Re-Harakhte:  god,  354 

Re-Khepri:  god,  21 

Reed  floats,  two,  108,  158 

Rekhmire:  vizier,  239  n. 

Religious  development  institutional, 
363. 

Religious  faculty,  the,  4 

Religious  literature,  ancient,  96 

Renaissance,  365 

Responsibility,  personal,  297 

Resurrection  of  Osiris,  31  /.,  39,  160, 
288,  341 

Resurrection  the  act  of  a  god,  57 

"  Righteousness,"  174-5,  253,  254  n., 
310 

Ritual  at  Abydos,  96 


378 


INDEX 


Ritual  for  benefit  of  king,  77 
Ritual,  funerary  and  offering,  93 
Ritual  of  Aton,  329 
Ritual  of  offerings,  79  n. 
Ritual  of  worship,  93 
Royal  cemetery,  Abydos,  64 

Sahure,  king,  82,  168 

Sakkara:  pyramids  at,  84 

Satis,  goddess  of  cataract,  103 

Scarab,  31 

Scepticism,  179,  185,  257 

Sebek-o:  coffin  of,  73  n. 

Sebni  of  Elephantine,  62,  65 

Sed-Feast,  39 

Sehetepibre:  stela,  258  n. 

Sehpu:  herald  of  king,  118 

Sekhem:  son  of  Osiris,  152 

Sekhmet:  goddess,  82 

Self-consciousness,  198 

Serapis:  Osiris,  367 

Serket:  goddess,  125 

Serpent-charms,  95,  135 

Sesenebnef:  official,  253 

Sesostris  I:  king,  71,  202,  258,  286 

Sesostris  II :  king,  199 

Sesostris  III:  king,  287 

Set:  god,  14,  25,  27,  28,  29,  30,  33,  34, 

35,  36,  40,  41,  53,  59,  78,  79,  104, 

105,    112,    118  n.,    119,    125,    143, 

152,  153,  154,  157,  161,  166,  288 
Set,  enemy  of  Osiris,  41 
Set,  symbol  of  darkness,  40 
Set-Horus  feud,  Osirian  absorption 

of,  41 
Seti  I:  king,  20 
Shesha,  112 
Shesmu,  128 
Shu:  god,  11,  19,  34,  77,  113,  114, 

133,  360 
Sky,  east  of,  place  of  living  again, 

102 
Sky,  place  of  future  blessedness,  99 
Snefru:  king,  81,  82,  228 
Social  classes,  246 
Social  conditions,  208 
Social  ethics,  228 
Social  forces,  199  ff. 
Social  ideals,  212,  214/. 
Social  justice,  5,  216,  226,  243,  244, 

246,  249,  252,  349,  353,  356 
Society,  redemption  of,  215 
Sokar:  god,  21,  175 
Solar  barque,  122,  130,  253,  283 
Solar  faith,  74,  102,  176,  310,  319, 

338,  346 


Solar  faith:  state  theology,  140,  142 

Solar  henotheism,  43 

Solar  hereafter,  139,  145 

Solar  monotheism,  322 

Solar  pantheism,  360 

Solar  theology,  43,  148,  149,  160, 
250,  312,  313,  321,  336,  337 

Solar  universalism,  319 

Solarization  of  Osiris,  250 

"Son  of  Re":  title  of  kings,  15 

Song  of  mourning,  179/. 

Song  of  the  Harper,  180/.,  185,  191, 
194,  250 

Song,  palace,  17 

Soped:  Solar  god,  74  n. 

Sothis,  star  of  Isis,  22,  284 

Sovereignty  of  Re,  174 

Speculation  among  common  people, 
357 

State  religion:  Solar,  285 

Statues,  portrait  funerary,  69 

Status  of  dead  king,  120 

Stelee  erected  at  Abydos,  285 

Subterranean  hereafter,  159-160, 
276,  277,  310,  367 

Subterranean  journey  of  the  dead, 
297 

Subterranean  kingdom  of  the  dead, 
37 

Sun  as  Re,  10 

Sun,  influence  on  Egyptian  relig- 
ion, 8 

Sun's  disk :  symbol  of  Aton,  320 

Sun-god,  8,  10,  11,  12,  13,  14,  16,  25, 
39,  40,  45  n.,  62,  70,  71,  72,  76,  78, 
100,  101,  103,  105,  106,  109,  111, 
112,  115,  116,  120,  121,  122,  129, 
131,  142,  155,  157,  158,  159,  171, 
176,  188,  196,  211,  245,  251,  253, 
274,  275,  304,  308,  309,  310,  312, 
313,  317,  319,  320,  322,  323,  331, 
337,  353,  359,  360,  365 

Sun-god  and  Osiris,  correlation  of,  39 

Sun-god,  identification  with,  274 
Sun-god  supreme,  12 
Sun-god's  realm,  315 
Sun-gods,  old  local,  43 
Sun-hymn,  earliest,  13 
Sun-hymn  used  as  charm,  98 
Suti:  architect,  315,  326  n. 
Symbol  of  god  Aton,  320 

Tale  of  the  Eloquent  Peasant, 
228  n.,  230,  239,  245,  249,  250 

Tale  of  the  Two  Brothers.  21,  26, 
136  n.,  215,  216,  358/. 


INDEX 


379 


" Teaching"  of  Ikhnaton,  340 
Tefnut:  goddess,  11,  19,  77,  114,  133 
Tell  el-Amarna,  322  /. 
Teti:  king,  57,  59,  85,  106,  114,  123, 

133,  137,  138,  142,  147,  154,  155, 

158,  178 
Thoth:  god,  12,  34,  35,  45,  81,  107, 

119,  129,  137,  147,  224,  254,  255, 

278,  284,  288,  289,  290,  304,  305, 

306 
Thutenakkt:  official,  217  ff. 
Thutmose  I:  king,  313 
Thutmose   III:   king,    239  n.,    298, 

310,  313,  314,  318,  363 
Thutmose  IV:  king,  239  n. 
Tomb,  257 

Tomb  at  Abydos,  285 
Tomb-building,  258 
Tomb  decoration,  262,  366 
Tomb:  duty  of  son  to  provide,  63 
Tomb,  monumental,  62 
Tomb,  royal,  75,  103 
Tomb,  royal,  of  sacred  significance, 

72 
Tombs,  178,  259,  362 
Tombs  of  First  Dynasty,  64 
Tombs,  restoration  of,  270 
Tombs:  Tell  el-Amarna,  323 
Translation  of  king  to  sky,  137  /. 
Transmigration  of  souls,  277 
Tree  of  life,  133 
"Triumphant,"  33 
Troja:  quarries,  65,  258 
"Truth,"    166,   225  n.,   299  n.,  304, 

337 
Tutenkhamon :  king,  344  /. 
Tutu,  Amarna  hymn  of,  316  n. 
"Two  Truths,"  34 


Unis:  king,  18,  58,  85,  87,  91,  93,  98, 
100,  107,  109,  110,  111,  113,  116, 
119,  120,  123,  126,  128,  129,  130, 
132,  137,  146,  150,  151,  153,  154, 
158,  174,  178,  320 

Unis,  king,  identified  with  Nile,  18 

Universalism,  314,  315,  348 

Universalism,  Solar,  331 

Unweariable  stars,  279 

Upwawet:  god,  32,  145,  259,  260, 
264,  266,  270,  288,  289 

Urseus,  110 

Usages  of  religion,  7 

Userkaf:  king,  68,  167 

Ushebtis:  Respondents,  295,  340  n. 

"Utterances" :  Pyramid  Texts,  93, 98 

"Victorious,"  33 

Vignettes  in  Book  of  Dead,  294 

Vital  principle  identified  with  breath, 

55 
Vizier:  vizierate,  240,  243 
Vocabulary  of  Pyramid  Texts,  90 
Votive  offerings,  287 
Voyage  with  Re  across  the  sky,  121 

Wag-feast,  266 

Wealth,  357 

Wennofer:  Osiris,  289,  299,  306 

Weshptah:  vizier,  66 

"West"  the  place  of  dead,  100,  101 

Wisdom  literature,  227  n. 

Wisdom  of  Ptahhotep,  216,  226  ff., 

240,  245,  246,  252,  339 
World-religion,  332 
Woser:  vizier,  239  n. 

Yemen-kau,  139 


Uneg:  son  and  body-servant  of  Re, 
121 


Zatj:  name,  64,  66,  167 
Zoser:  king,  182,  184 


Date  Due